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THE LIBRARY 

OF 

THE UNIVERSITY 

OF CALIFORNIA 

LOS ANGELES 




THE LIBRARY 
OF 

THE UNIVERSITY 

OF CALIFORNIA 

LOS ANGELES 



_.y 



4 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 



/■ ' 



-^' 




[Photo hy H. Walter Bainett. 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

HER WORK AND INFLUENCE 



BY 



J. STUART WALTERS 



4 



LONDON 
KEGAN PAUL, TRENCH, TRUBNER & CO. Ltd. 

BROADWAY HOUSE, 68-74 CARTER LANE, E.C. 

191 2 






X 



The author is glad to have this opportunity 
of recording his indebtedness to Mrs. A. K. 
Morrison and to Professor Feuillerat for some 
valuable hints and suggestions. 



1524?29 



CONTENTS 

CHAPTER I 

I'AGE 

Iiitrgductory. On the religious, politicLil and social 

"•^conditions in England during tl\e period imme- 

' diately prior to the publication of Rohcrl 

Elsmere ...■•■ 9 

CHAPTER n 
Early Impressions and Later Ideals . . . 2-) 

CHAPTER III 

Literary Work — the influence of Erance. Social 

Work^the influence of England . -SO 

CHAPTER IV 

Thoughts on Religion — Social life — Politics — 

Education — Vv'onian . . . • I'j 

CHAPTER V 
Conclusions . . . . • ' -193 



Literary Index ..... 20'; 

Bibliography . . . .207 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 



CHAPTER I 

INTRODUCTORY 

Throughout the whole of the middle and the 
latter part of the nineteenth century England was 
the scene of a great religious and intellectual 
revival ; and this revival, introducing as it did 
many new ideas, led, not unnaturally, to much 
divergence of opinion, and this again led to con- 
troversy. The spirit, in fact, of controversy was 
in the air — it swept the country from north to 
south, from east to west, gathering in its embrace 
alike religion and science, and politics, and litera- 
ture and art. 

Perhaps the chief and certainly the most tur- 
bulent of these movements was that in connection 
with religion. 

At that time, as now, the Established Church 
was split into three factitious divisions, the dis- 
secting causes being practically the same as they 
remain to this day ; but since the stir caused by 
Wesley at the end of the eighteenth century 
enthusiasm had been looked on askance — there 
was a desire for peace, and peace had been allowed 

9 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

to degenerate into indifference on the part of the 
people, and into laxity on the part of the clergy. 

The first sign of new life was a mild outbreak of 
Evangelicalism at Cambridge. Later came that 
outburst of Ritualism (or Tractarianism) at Oxford 
which had so marked an effect on the ethical 
development of the nation. This movement 
dates from a sermon on " National Apostasy " 
preached by Keble on July 14, 1833. Its causes 
were twofold : on the one hand, the spirit of 
Romanticism, turning men's minds to mediaeval 
times ; and, on the other, reaction from the great 
Liberal (or Rational) wave that swept away 
Catholic disabilities (in 1821 and 1822), which 
threatened the wealth of the Established Church, 
and brought German Rationalism over to England. 

Something better was wanted to stem the tide — 
something more sturdy, more invigorating than 
the quiescent Anglicanism of the time. What all 
felt to be necessary was a positive dogma, based 
on a firm belief in a Church founded upon anti- 
quity and free from error. But from this point 
onwards reformers failed to agree. " What," 
it was asked, " is meant by antiquity ? Where 
draw the line ? — at apostolic, patristic, or pre- 
Tridentine^ times ? " Freedom from error was 
of course essential, but again came the question 

1 Vide Helbeck of Bannisdale (London : Smith, Elder & 
Co., 1903), p. 387. The reference is, of course, to the 
oecumenical council held at Tridentum (Trent) in the 
years i 545-1563. 

10 



INTRODUCTORY 

" What is error ? Did it mean transubstantia- 
tion, or mariolatry, or merely papal infallibility ? " 

These were the questions that were debated, 
before a breathless Church, by that brilliant little 
band of Oxford scholars — Newman, the subtle 
Aristotelian; Pusey, whom Newman styled "the 
Great" ; Keble, the gentle singer of the Christian 
Year ; and Manning, the after hierarch who adorned 
the highest position the Roman Catholic Church 
in England can bestow. And such were the prob- 
lems offered to a wondering world in ninety 
anonymous " Tracts for the Times " (whence 
Anglo- Catholics were called Tractarians), in which 
tracts was discerned a steady approximation to 
the faith of Rome. 

This very approximation, being viewed with fear 
by a large proportion of the people, caused the 
pendulum of religious feeling once more to swing 
back — (How strange this must sound to any one 
who is unacquainted with the exceeding freedom 
of religious thought in England !) and gave strength 
once again to the Evangelical Movement. 

This movement in 1845 took on a somewhat 
polemical aspect in the shape of the Evangelical 
Alliance, with the idea of " promoting unity among 
all denominations of professed Christians," and 
with the object of waging perpetual war against 
" Romanism and infidelity." This Alliance, per- 
haps on account of its fighting qualities, has shown 
extraordinary vitality ; it has not only succeeded 

in keeping alive until to-day — which would of 

1 1 



iMRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

itself have been a noteworthy achievement for 
what might have been merely a passing emotion — 
but it has taken root in other countries. Branches 
are to be found in the Colonies, in France, Ger- 
many, Italy, Sweden, and the United States, 
and a week of praj^er takes place among the 
members throughout the world annually in 
January. Its motto is " Unum corpus sumus 
in Christo " and its stated object " to exhibit 
the unity of the one Church of God in doctrine, 
mutual recognition, and Christian co-operation 
for the advancement of evangelical truth through- 
out the world." 

While this great fight between High and Low 
(with Broad occasionally intervening) was at its 
hottest, the conflicting parties felt their position 
assailed by a small but vigorous band of agnostic 
scientists led by Darwin and Huxley and Spencer. 
The first alarm was caused by Darwin's Origin of 
Species (1859), followed by Huxley's Man's Place 
in Nature (1863). 

But the real damage was done by the Descent 
of Man (1871), where, it will be remembered, 
Darwin sought to prove that man is descended 
from " a hairy quadruped with a tail, probably 
arboreal in its habits." The consternation among 
the Church factions — all of whom believed im- 
plicitly at that time, in the literal truth and in- 
spiration of the Biblical story of the Creation and 
Fall of Man — may easily be imagined. Spencer 
followed with his Principles of Psychology (1872) 

12 



INTRODUCTORY 

and Principles of Sociology (1877), wherein he 
extended Darwin's (and his own) theory of evolu- 
tion beyond the department of biology and into 
the regions of the sister sciences. Huxley brought 
to bear the heavy guns of personal controversy, 
in which he successfully engaged Mr. Gladstone, 
Dr. Wace, and Bishop Magee — his own contribu- 
tions to the debates being described at the time 
as '.' fine exhibitions of vigorous argument and 
trenchant language." 

''The natural and inevitable effect of this flank 
attack was first to draw off the Church antagonists, 
then to bring them to some extent together, that 
they might fight side by side against the common 
enemy. 

When the fighting force of both these movements 
was somewhat spent, the times were ripe for a 
larger and simpler creed, embracing philosophies 
of East and West, and not out of sympathy with 
Science. The need, as so often happens, produced 
the men, and Frederick Denison Maurice, Matthew 
Arnold, and Charles Kingsley gave to the thinking 
world those wonderful ethical studies which created 
almost a sensation at the time, but which we now 
recognise as the natural evolution of theological 
and philosophical thought. These were received 
by sectarians with mingled horror, fear and 
anguish — the Nonconformists being especially 
virulent in their abuse. 

The Church — perhaps because led by more 
cultured men — said less that was abusive, but a 

13 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

great section, the disciples of Tractarianism, was 
driven by blind fear into the ranks of the Ritualists, 
and thence not a few by a relentless logic into the 
Roman Catholic Faith. 

Throughout the whole distressful period the 
Broad Church, by reason of its open mind, and a 
certain detached attitude, maintained the greatest 
poise — meeting the new views in Science, as it 
were, half-way. 

It is perhaps only right to say that the Science 
of the latter middle of the nineteenth century, 
and even on towards the end df the century, was 
extremely materialistic. People feared, they knew 
not what. Morals formerly were thought to be 
based on Religion, and if the foundations of Re- 
ligion went, where, it was asked, would be the 
morality of the country ? 

Protestantism, in urging the private right] of 
Conscience — the right of the individual to think 
for himself — has within it elements which must 
eventually destroy it, so far as dogmatic and 
miraculous belief is concerned. The Light of 
Science is continually explaining old beliefs in 
new ways, till they become unrecognisable. Thus 
many of the orthodox are not scared and some are 
attracted by the new thought. But, as Cotter 
Morrison says : — 

..." i\Iere rationalism, however cogent to 
some minds, often remains powerless on others, 
and those frequently possessing the best qualities 
of intellect and character. The deepest change 

14 



INTRODUCTORY 

which this age has seen in reference to men's atti- 
tude towards the current theology, has taken place, 
not in the region of the understanding, but in that 
of the heart. It is not so much that the Bible, 
with its miracles and legends, is felt to be untrue 
and incredible by the trained reason ; a great 
number of theological dogmas are felt to be morally 
repulsive and horrible, by the more humane con- 
science of modern times. This change of senti- 
ment is so great and far-reaching, that there is no 
Wionder that its import is imperfectly seized, or 
even wholly missed by those whom the accidents 
of education and surroundings have preserved 
from its influence. It is a change not less momen- 
tous than that which placed the Christian converts 
of the Roman period in a position of passionate 
hostility to the immoralities and indecencies of 
decaying polytheism. Even divines are becoming 
aware that the eternity of hell-torment is a doctrine 
of waning efhcacy, on which it is easy to insist 
too much. Some are discovering that it lacks 
Scriptural authority, and beseech us not to believe 
that anything so dreadful is delivered in the Word 
of God. The minimising of irksome tenets is a 
frequent resource and an unfailing symptom of 
decaying faiths. Julian and his pagan sophists 
essayed to spiritualise offensive Greek myths. 
There is no ground for doubting the bona fides 
of such attempts, but they rarely succeed." ^ 

1 The Service of Man (London : Kegan Paul, Trench & 
Co., iS88), pp. 25, 26. 

15 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

Amidst all these shifting sands of old-time 
belief, the Church of Rome seemed to stand, as it 
claimed, firmly built upon a rock — so, at least, it 
appeared to many in England whose tone of mind 
was ritualistic and conservative. 

Contemporaneous with all this religious and 
anti-religious ferment were certain social move- 
ments which may briefly be noted as immediately 
antecedent to, and to some extent provocative of, 
the publication of Marcella and Sir George Tressady. 

The period 1865-1900 has been called the Period 
of Collectivism, though it overlaps for some years 
the previous reign of Benthamism and Individual- 
ism. 

The trend and tendency of Benthamite legisla- 
tion had been : — 

(a) The transference of political power to the 
middle classes, as marked by the Parliamentary 
Reform Act of 1832 and the Municipal Reform Act 
of 1836. 

(b) Towards Humanitarianisni, as evidenced by 
the mitigation of criminal law (whipping of women 
abolished^ 1820; the pillory, 1816; hanging in chains, 
1834), the prohibition of cruelty to animals (bull- 
baiting and cock-fighting abolished, 1833 and 1835 ; 
prohibition of use of dogs for draught, 1854), 
and the emancipation of slaves, 1833. 

(c) The Extension oj Individual Liberty, as shown 
by several Acts giving greater freedom of contract, 
such as the Combination Acts of 1824 and 1825, 
and the Companies Acts of 1856 and 1862. 

16 



INTRODUCTORY 

At this time also was given greater freedom in 
dealing with property in land by means of such 
Acts as the Inheritance Act of 1S33, and the Real 
Property Act of 1845. 

Probably personal freedom was never at so 
great a height as in England between the years 
1850 and 1870. 

The reformers whose exertions ushered in this 
state of things, whether they were thinkers such 
as Bentham, Grote and Mill, or politicians like 
Lord John Russell and Earl Grey, all relied very 
largely on the parliamentary suffrage as a safe- 
guard of freedom. They perceived that the 
suffrage, so far as it had been possessed by the 
people, had been used as such a safeguard in the 
past ; but they did not perceive how the suffrage 
might be used to create a new kind of class supre- 
macy. And yet these reformers were themselves 
the men who dwelt upon the danger of class 
supremacy, in the hands of every class except 
one. They were so taken up with resisting the 
tyranny of kings and oligarchies that it never 
occurred to the earlier leaders among them to 
consider what would happen when numerical 
majorities became supreme. They seemed to have 
drawn the conclusion that, because Acts of State 
to which they objected had usually been the work 
of a minority, therefore every minority was 
dangerous, but every majority was to be trusted. 
They did not state the position quite so crudely, 
and, indeed, most of them never stated it at all, 

B 17 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

but simply took it for granted. John Stuart 
■Mill was probably the first to perceive the danger 
of placing all political power in the hands of a 
single class, although that class was not a minority, 
but a majorit}^ His elaborate advocacy of the 
representation of minorities was partly the result 
of this perception, though no doubt his love of 
abstract justice would have prompted the advo- 
cacy, even if no danger had threatened. Be that 
as it may, Mill seems to have almost wholly left 
out of account the inveterate British dislike for 
symmetrical institutions and what is called doc- 
trinairism. He does, in a faint kind of way, 
admit that the plan he advocated would have to 
overcome a certain amount of prejudice. Had he 
lived a dozen years longer (and he was only sixty- 
seven years of age when he died), he would have 
seen the little instalment of minority representa- 
tion which was instituted in his own time done 
away with, and the whole subject of proportional 
representation ridiculed as a mere crotchet. 

Dicey, who has made a close study of this period, 
very pointedly remarks : — 

" Nor is it irrelevant to note that the more 
closely the renovation of English institutions 
under the influence of Bentham is studied, the 
more remarkably does it illustrate the influence 
of public opinion upon law. Nothing is effected 
by violence ; every change takes place, and every 
change is delayed or arrested by the influence, as 
it may seem the irresistible influence, of an unseen 

i8 



INTRODUCTORY 

povvjr. The efforts of obstrucLioiiists or re- 
actionists come to nothing, the Toryism of Eldon, 
the military rigidity of WelUngton, the intelhgent 
conservatism of Peel, and at a later period the far 
less intelligent conservatism of Palmerston, all 
appear . . . not in reality to delay for more than 
periods which are mere moments in the life of 
nations, the progress of change. On the other 
hand, the violence of democrats or the fervour of 
enthusiasts achieves little in hurrying on innova- 
tion. In the eighteenth century a duke was ready 
to recommend universal suffrage. It was de- 
manded by the Chartists, who between 1830 and 
1848 seemed destined to carry parliamentary 
reform to its logical conclusion. 

" Although England is far more democratic than 
in the middle of the nineteenth century, the 
electors, who could easily obtain any change that 
they eagerly desired, acquiesce in arrangements far 
less democratic than even unqualified household 
suffrage ; and it is arguable . . . that the reforms 
of the last sixty years have considerably increased 
the popularity of the Crown, the Peerage, and the 
Church." i 

^ Law and Opinion in England (London: IMacniiUan & 
Co., 1905), pp. 208, 209. 

When using these words the Vincrian Professor oi 
EngUsh Law at the University of Oxford was addressing 
the students of the Harvard Law School in 1898 : it 
woukl be interesting to know how he would view the 
effect of recent legislation (Parliament Act, 191 1), on the 
peerage and their legislative rights. 

19 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

The period of Benthamism was followed by the 
period of Collectivism. The explanation of this 
change is to be found not in the advance of demo- 
cracy, as might perhaps have been expected, but 
rather in the growth of Tory philanthropy, as 
marked more especially by the era of Factory 
Legislation which was started by Oastler's letters 
and writings in 1830. His Slavery in Yorkshire, 
coming just on top of the movement for the emanci- 
pation of the negroes, and telling of the horrors 
of child-slavery, not in the West Indies, but in 
the heart of England, aroused a tremendous wave 
of indignation, and on the crest of that wave the 
various ameliorative Factory Acts were carried. 

But a far greater Tory philanthropist of that 
time was Lord Shaftesbury, who has been called 
the " complete beau-ideal of aristocracy." In 
reality he was neither a politician nor a theologian, 
but a religious humanitarian who devoted his life 
to philanthropic labours. His name will always 
remain intimately connected with the Ten Hours 
Act of 1850, and though he hated Socialism on the 
one hand, he had no love for the mill-owners and 
manufacturers on the other. And thus it came 
about that the artisans were willing to be led by 
him, for he shared their faith in the benefits to be 
derived from extending the authority of the State. 
This readiness on the part of the workers to follow 
a leader who was not of their own class is explained 
by the failure of Chartism in 1848. From that 
time onwards they either gave up all interest in 

20 



INTRODUCTORY 

public affairs, or devoted their efforts to movements 
of the social rather than of the poHtical order, 
such as trades-unionism. And so a faith in the 
benefit to be derived from State intervention 
became established, and the various trades-unions 
began that series of collective bargains which has 
gained for them their present recognised position 
in the country and their power in Parliament. 

Politically, the next forward move was the 
passing of the Reform Bill of 1867. This Act, 
by taking the household as the basis of the fran- 
chise, endeavoured to follow out the principle 
that each head of a family should possess a vote. 
This gave us in place of the mediaeval commune 
the smaller commune or household or family. 

But there were other qualifications attached to 
this vote, and these gradually grew till it could 
scarcely be said that we had a hona-fide household 
franchise at all. And so from the family we were 
gradually driven more and more to the idea of 
individual as the unit of political life. 

In 1872 an important step was taken in protect- 
ing electoral rights by means of the Ballot Act. 

Many, perhaps, were inclined to sympathise with 
Mill in his objection to this Act on the grounds 
that it would be a higher standard of things if a 
man were to exercise his franchise openly as a 
sacred trust of which he was not ashamed. But 
there were (and there still are) so many difficulties 
to be overcome, and it was (and is) found in 
practice that men are much more free in exercising 

21 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

their right to vote when they are protected by the 
secrecy of the ballot. 

In the year of the appearance of Robert 
Elsmere there was passed the County Council 
Act (1888) — an Act democratic enough in theory, 
but found to be less so in working. This Act took 
the government of the counties out of the hands 
of the Justices of the Peace and placed it in the 
hands of popularly elected representatives ; but as 
a matter of fact it was found in working that the 
people very often elected Justices of the Peace to 
represent them, and so no great change resulted. 

The religious and political factors in the forma- 
tion and re-formation of the ethical standards of 
this period have been noted at some length, but this 
review would be incomplete without some mention 
of a third force which exercised a powerful influence 
on both the other forces, namely, ^stheticism. 
This being a term that has suffered some abuse, 
may be defined as the philosophy of the beautiful, 
in nature, in art, and in literature. With this 
mo\'ement the names of Ruskin, \\'ordsworth, 
Rossetti, and William Morris are immemorably 
connected, and the greatest of these by reason of 
his dominant personality, the vigour of his svrit- 
ings, his passionate advocacy of certain reforms, 
and his utter devotion to the service of his country, 
is Ruskin. His thoughts on God, on Nature, 
on the good and the beautiful, on human ideals, 
on duty, on happiness, on the ends and aims of 
society have_ indeed been expressed by others, 

22 



INTRODUCTORY 

but by none with so much clearness and spon- 
taneity, and by none have these ideals been so 
closely interwoven with the daily needs of a 
workaday world. 

The other apostles of iEstheticism, too, each in 
his own way, preached the gospel of the Ideal — 
seeking to turn men's minds upward and away from 
the materialistic and somewhat sordid motives 
of Benthamism and the like — away from the 
gloomy contentiousness of religious controversy, 
towards the Beautiful. 

All three movements, however, are closely inter- 
mingled, for the religious movement has its effect 
on politics — helping forward its steadily growing 
humanitarian tendency ; and the aesthetic move- 
ment on religion — attracting waverers from the 
side of Evangelicalism by calling attention to the 
beauty (of the externals at any rate) in the Ritual- 
istic services. 

/Estheticism, moreover, had its influence on 
political opinion, for once men had come to realise 
the beautiful as a thing essential and desirable, 
poverty in all its ugly shapes and forms became 
intolerable, and thus strength and impetus were 
given to that flood of sentiment which eventually 
produced the ameliorative legislation that has 
been already noted. 

Again, it was iStstheticism that taught us to 
beautify our homes, both externally and internally, 
and called our attention to the subtle soothing 
influence of half-tones in colour. It even had an 

23 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

effect on dress, and led, under the influence mainly 
of Wniiam Morris, to the production of those 
delightful fabrics which we now classify under the 
generic term " Liberty goods." 

Of the various movements — religious, political 
and artistic — the last was, from a literary point 
of view, by far the most interesting and important. 
For while religion gave nmch that is valuable to 
theology, it produced little of general interest, 
if we except perhaps Newman's Apologia. 

The political thought of the period ])roduced a 
better crop of work, for it was fortunate enough to 
have as its chief literary representative John 
Stuart Mill — hence the immortal work on Liberty 
(1859), and that great dissertation on capital, 
wages, rent, profit, international values, currency, 
etc., entitled Principles of Political Econoniv 
(1842).! 

But Art did better still ; for, using the term so as 
to include pure Literature, which is but a form of 
Art, we are confronted with a perfect phalanx of 
genius and talent. It is doubtful, in fact, if any 
period in our history can compare from a literary 
point of view with that which is known as mid- 
Victorian. 

For to this period belong — in addition to the 
names already quoted — Froude, the historian ; 
Thackeray, Dickens and George Eliot, novelists ; 
Browning, Swinburne and Tennyson, poets ; with 

^ jMill's name will always be remembered as one of the 
earliest male advocates of Woman Suffrage. 

24 



INTRODUCTORY 

j\Iatthew Arnold in his versatility, touching all 
three phases of thought, namely : Art, as a poet 
{Poems, 1853, and Neia Poems, 1867) ; Politics, as 
a philosopher {Culture and Anarchy, 1869); and 
Religion, as a critic {Literature and Dogma, 
1872). 

And if one turn for a brief glance towards pure 
Art as expressed in painting and sculpture, again 
one is struck by the wealth of talent belonging to 
this period. Watts, Leighton and ^lillais were 
perhaps the greatest, l^ut they were closely followed 
by a host of others, several of whom, like Herkomer, 
have survived the period and still remain to remind 
us of the splendour of the recent past. 



25 



CHAPTER II 

EARLY IMPRESSIONS AND LATER IDEALS 

There are few literary personalities, if indeed 
there be any, tliat have made a deeper impression 
on the psychosis of om^ own times than that of 
Mary Augusta, the eldest daughter of Thomas 
Arnold, and granddaughter of the great school- 
master " Arnold of Rugby." Born in 1851, she 
married, at the age of twenty-one, Thomas 
Humphry Ward, Fellow and Tutor of Brasenose 
College, Oxford, author and journalist. 

Her father was himself a man of no mean literary 
ability. His was a life of much interest to students 
of his daughter's work — a life full of movement and 
mental activity, involving some unrest. Born at 
Laleham in 1823, he was educated under James 
Prince Lee at Rugby — his father being head- 
master. His holidays were spent at Fox How in 
Westmoreland among that glorious mountain 
scenery which his daughter learned to love and 
which she has described so exquisitely in Robert 
Elsmere. For a time he held the post of inspector 
of schools in Tasmania, but his mind was troubled 

26 



EARLY IMPRESSIONS AND LATER IDEALS 

with religious difficulties and in 1856 he was 
received into the Roman Catholic Church. 

This step led to some ill-feeling in the Colony, 
and we next hear of him sailing for England with 
his wife and three children — the eldest of whom 
was Mary Augusta — " in a small barque of 400 
ton3." 1 

The journey took three months and the " vast 
expanse of ocean " does not appear to have left 
a ''favourable impression on the young girl, for 
nowhere in her work do we find the sea referred 
to with anything approaching enthusiasm. 

A few months after landing, Arnold accepted a 
post under Newman in Dublin. Here he wrote 
his Manual of English Literature. 

In 1856, probably under the influence of 
Dollinger, he became alienated from his chief and 
left the Church of Rome. He then built himself 
a house (now known as Wycliffe Hall) in Oxford, 
and there he took pupils. Here we have the key 
to Mrs. Ward's intimate knowledge of Oxford 
life. But his roving was not yet over. In 1882 
he was appointed professor of English Language 
and Literature in the University College of Dublin. 
Henceforth he resided in Ireland, making pil- 
grimages therefrom to the shrines of saints and to 
Rome ; which fact lends colour to the statement 
that has been made to the effect that he rejoined 
the Roman Church. In 1900 he brought out 

^ Vide Dictioiun-y of National Bio^raj^hy (Supplement, 
vol. i.). 

27 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

an autobiographical volumo entitled Passages 
in Wandering Lije, written in an agreeable style 
but with some bitterness, for, as he himself said, 
the greater part of his life had been " restless 
and unprofitable." The portrait prefixed to his 
Passages shows a marked resemblance to his 
elder and more famous brother, ]\Iatthew. 

His religious vacillations probably account for 
the fact that although he was contemporaneous 
with most of the men who made history in the 
middle and latter part of the nineteenth century 
— Pusey, Maurice, Manning, Newman, Keble, 
Kingsley, Huxley, Darwin, Spencer, Carlyle and 
Ruskin — yet he never knew either Darwin or 
Spencer and probably not Carlyle. Huxley he 
did not meet until 1882, and there appears to be no 
evidence to show that he ever came into touch 
with either Kingsley or Maurice. 

This was a great loss to his daughter, for the 
position of the Arnolds entitled them to be in 
the midst of this aristocracy of intellect and 
culture. It is, however, fairly certain that she met 
some at least of these great ones. Newman she must 
have known in Ireland as a child, and again later 
when he was head of the Oratory School ^ andher 
father was on the staff as senior classical master. 

She is almost sure also to have met Ruskin in 
Oxford while her father was at Wy cliff e Hall. 

However that may be, it is certain that as she 
grew up she took a livel}- interest in the problems 

^At Biimingham. 

28 



EARLY IMPRESSIONS AND LATER IDEALS 

in which these great philosophers and contro- 
versialists were engaged. It is more than likely 
that she heard them debated on all sides, for the 
country was aflame with political and theological 
discussion. And her work shows that she acquired 
a taste for these problems — especially for the 
religious ones. 

Nor is this to be wondered at, for the whole 
Arnold family, belonging as they did to the 
Established Church and having some of their 
members actually holding ofhce in that Church at 
the time, would naturally be deeply engrossed in 
the questions which seemed to be tearing it asunder. 

From quite an early age, then, Miss Arnold must 
have become habituated to religious controversy 
and she would appear to have absorbed some of its 
spirit. 

Yet she became no fierce partisan of either side, 
but — and this must be regarded as evidence of an 
exceptionally well-balanced mind — -she took up a 
position outside that of the great factions and 
boldly pleaded — at a time when there were few 
of her opinion — for Reason in all things, even in 
religion. "It may be Christian but it is not 
sense," says Fountain, in Helheck of Bannisdalc. 
and Mrs. Ward was from the first anxious to 
combine the two things — she pleads for a Religion 
that will appeal to, and attract, men of sense. 

Throughout the whole of her work the influence 
of her uncle Matthew on her religious views is 
obvious ; but perhaps it is not more obvious in 

29 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

any direction than in that which shows her attitude 
towards the Free Churches, and the effect of this 
influence is to lead her to do them rather less than 
justice. 

This constitutes what appears to be a blemish 
m her otherwise well-poised judgment, for when we 
consider that the Nonconformist is numerically the 
equal of the Anglican it cannot but be regretted 
that he does not loom larger in the pages of a 
writer who has otherwise depicted our national 
life with considerable accuracy. 

Arnold, however, had a superabundant i:)ortion 
of that ineffable contempt of the cultured for the 
uncultured which was a characteristic of his period, 
and among the uncultured he did not hesitate to 
class (and with some reason, it must be admitted) 
the Nonconformist of his day. 

" But with the member of a Nonconforming or 
self-made religious community," he says, after a 
long eulogium of the Anglican, " how different ! 
The sectary's eigene Erfindimgen, as Goethe calls 
them, — the precious discoveries of himself and 
his friends for expressing the inexpressible, and 
defining the undefinable, in peculiar forms of their 
own, cannot but, as he has voluntarily chosen 
them, and is personally responsible for them, 
fill his whole mind. He is zealous to do battle 
for them and affirm them ; for in affirming them he 
affirms himself, and that is what we all like. Other 
sides of his being are thus neglected, because the 
religious side, always tending in every spiritual 

30 



EARLY IMPRESSIONS AND LATER IDEALS 

man to predominance over other spiritual sides, 
is in him made quite absorbing and tyrannous 
by the condition of self-assertion and challenge 
which he has chosen for himself. And just what 
is not essential in religion he comes to mistake for 
essential, and a thousand times the more readily 
because he has chosen it himself ; and religious 
activity he fancies to consist in battling for it. 
All this leaves him little leisure or inclination for 
culture ; to which, besides, he has no great in- 
stitutions not of his own making, like the Uni- 
versities connected with the national Church, to 
invite him ; but only such institutions as, like the 
order and discipline of his religion, he may have 
invented for himself and invented under the sway 
of the narrow and tyrannous notions of religion 
fostered in him as we have seen. Thus, while a 
national establishment of religion favours totality, 
hole- and- cor ner forms of religion (to use an expres- 
sive popular word) inevitably favour ' pro\'incial- 
ism."'i 

It seems not unreasonable to suppose that strong 
])ronouncements like the above, coming from a 
source which she had probably been taught to 
look up to and revere, would make a profound 
impression on the alert and receptive mind of a 
young woman of Mary Augusta Arnold's tempera- 
ment. 

All the Arnolds worshipped Culture, and she 
appears to have been no exception, though it must 
1 Culture and Anarchy, pp. 25, 26. 
31 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

be observed that in her later work there is evidence 
of a broadening of the mind on this point, notably 
in David Grieve, where there are several uncultured 
personcB and they are portrayed, moreover, without 
any suspicion of bias. 

Still, it is a feature to be noted that in her 
accounts of village communities (vide Marcella 
and Robert Elsmere) it is always the Vicar who 
figures among the chief personages, though Mrs. 
Ward can hardly fail to be cognisant of the fact 
that every village in the kingdom has its chapel or 
" Bethel," and that the minister of such chapel 
is a person not without a certain influence on the 
social life of the community — his flock^ indeed, 
often outnumbering the congregation of the 
national church ; this being so more especially 
in the North of England, in Cornwall, and in 
Wales. 

Professor A. V. Dicey has noticed in the litera- 
ture of an earlier generation a similar unfairness 
to Nonconformity : — 

" Modern novels,"- he says, " are, almost without 
exception, friendly in tone towards the Established 
Church, and teem with clerical heroes." (As these 
words were used in 1898 it is highly probable 
that the professor had in his mind, among others, 
the works of Mrs. Humphry Ward.) " Contrast 
the treatment — in the main, the grossly unfair 
treatment — which Dissenting ministers have, till 
fifty or sixty years ago, received at the hands of 
novel writers. Warren's Ten Thousand a Year 

32 



EARLY IMPRESSIONS AND LATER IDEALS 

tells us how Dissenters were regarded by a vulgar 
but effective Tory satirist in 1839. The meanest 
character in a novel which abounds with vulgar 
characters vulgarly caricatured, is a Dissenter 
who ends his career as an agitator against Church 
rates, whilst the gentleman-like virtues of the 
Tory rector are made the object of unctuous 
admiration. The Shepherd of the Pickwick Papers 
and the Chadband of Bleak House are caricatures 
of Dissenting vulgarity and cant, drawn by a man 
of genius who began life as a Benthamite Liberal, 
who at no period of his career believed himself to 
be a Tory, and who was the most widely read 
novelist of his day." ^ 

Further than this, the sectarian has played no 
inconsiderable part in our national history and 
literature. John Stuart Mill, Bright, Hume, 
Wesley, Milton, Bunyan and Cromwell were all 
Nonconformists. 

But according to Arnold they are all outside 
the pale, — uncultured, " Philistines." 

" But the point of view of culture," he says, 
" keeping the mark of human perfection simply 
and broadly in view, and not assigning to this 
perfection as religion or utilitarianism assign to 
it, a special and limited character, — this point of 
view, I say, of culture is best given by these words 
of Epictetus : — ' It is a sign of d^uL/ says he, — 
that is, of a nature not finely tempered, — ' to 

^ Law and Opinion in England (London : Macmillan & 
Co., 1905). p. 327. 

c 33 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

give ourselves up to things which relate to the 
body ; to make, for instance, a great fuss about 
exercise, a great fuss about eating, a great fuss 
about drinking, a great fuss about walking, a great 
fuss about riding. All these things ought to be 
done merely by the way : the formation of the 
spirit and character must be our real concern.' 
This is admirable ; and, indeed, the Greek word 
evcfivia, finely tempered nature, gives exactly 
the notion of perfection as culture brings us to 
conceive it ; a harmonious perfection, a perfection 
in which the characters of beauty and intelligence 
are both present, which unites ' the two noblest 
things,' — as Swift, who of one of the two, at any 
rate, had himself all too little, most happily 
calls them in his Battle of the Books, — ' the two 
noblest of things, sweetness and light.' The eu^vry? 
is the man who tends towards sweetness and light ; 
the d(f)vrjs, on the other hand, is our Philistine." ^ 

M. Andre Chevrillon has admirably summed up 
the complete Arnold gospel in a few lines : — 

" Pour Matthew Arnold I'Angleterre a besoin 
de se detendre, de s'humaniser, de se liberer un 
peu de I'obstine labeur material ou elle s'ankylose, 
afin de se civiliser spirituellement. II lui presente 
un ideal qui ressemble a celui de Ruskin ; plus 
de douceur, plus de limiere, plus de vie, sympathie 
humaine, c'est-a-dire plus de loisir, de bonheur 
et de beaute. Qu'elle cesse de vivre au jour 
le jour, sans une confusion de croyances, et 
• Cullurc and Anal chy, pp. 95 and gO. 

34 



EARLY IMPRESSIONS AND LATER IDEALS 

d'oeuvres antagonistes et particuliercs qui ne 
depassent jamais le point de vue egoiste et borne 
de la secte, de la corporation et de I'individu ! 
Qu'elle repudie ses anarchies de laisser faire, sa foi 
aux vertus du hasard, des routines, de Tempirisme 
pur, pour s'organiser suivant des idees generals, 
nationales et humaines, en prenant conscience de 
sa personne collective dont I'expression visible 
est I'Etat ! " 1 

Once, indeed, Mrs. Humphry Ward has so far 
broken away from what might be called " the 
Arnold tradition " as to make a hero of a " Philis- 
tine," David Grieve, the bookseller, a son of the 
people, bred on the land ; but then she is careful 
to give him at least a smattering of culture. 

" In the next place," she says, " the books them- 
selves had been a perpetual feast to him for weeks, 
enjoyed all the more keenly because of the secrecy 
in which it had to be devoured. The little gather- 
ing represented with fair completeness the chief 
books of the French ' philosophers,' both in the 
original French, and in those English translations 
of which so plentiful a crop made its appearance 
during the fifty years before and after 1800. 
There, for instance, lay the seventy volumes of 
Voltaire. Close by was an imperfect copy of the 
Encyclopcedia, which Mr. Stephens was getting 
cheap ; on the other side a motley gathering of 
Diderot and Rousseau ; while Holbach's System 

1 La Pensce de Riiskin (Paris, Librairie Hachette, 1909), 
pp. 284, 285. 

35 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

of Nature, and Helvetius On the Mind, held their 
rightful place among the rest. 

" Through these books then, which had now been 
on the premises for some time — Mr. Stephens 
being a person of uncertain domicile, and unable 
as yet to find them a home — David had been freely 
ranging. Whenever Purcell was out of the way 
and customers were slack, he invariably found his 
way to this spot in the upper room. There, with 
his elbows on the top of the bookcase which ran 
under the window, and a book in front of him — or 
generally two, the original French and a transla- 
tion — he had read Voltaire's tales, a great deal of 
the Encyclopedia, a certain amount of Diderot, 
for whom he cherished a passionate admiration, 
and a much smaller smattering of Rousseau. At 
the present moment he was grappling with the 
Dictionnaire Philosophiqne and the Systeme de 
la Nature, fortified in both cases by English 
versions." ^ 

But perhaps the influence which mainly affected 
her life, and which probably inspired her to write 
the immortal Robert Elsmere, was ^Matthew Arnold's 
Literature and Dogma. This remarkable work, 
published in 1873 (when Mary Augusta Arnold had 
reached the impressionable and strenuous age of 
twenty-two) , proclaiming as it did with no uncertain 
voice that " miracles do not happen," shook the 
religious world to its very foundations. 

1 The History of David Grieve (London : Smith, Elder & 
Co., 1906), Popular edition, p. 133. 

36 



eauly impreSSion^s and later ideals 

True, the convulsion was confined to the cultured 
classes — those classes which would be likely to read 
and talk about such a book by such a writer — yet 
the force of the upheaval made itself felt indirectly 
to a much greater extent, and we shall show later 
how it became ^Irs. Ward's own mission to spread 
her uncle's gospel among the other classes — 
Philistines, Barbarians and Populace — to use his 
own classification. 

It must not be supposed for a moment that 
Arnold's object was antagonistic to religion ; on 
the contrary, it was meant to be helpful. In the 
Preface he says : — 

" It cannot be but that the revolution should 
come, and that it should be here felt passionately, 
profoundly, painfully. In regard to it, however, 
there is incumbent on every one the utmost duty 
of considerateness and caution. There can be no 
surer proof of a narrow and ill-instructed mind, 
than to think and uphold that what a man takes 
to be the truth on religious matters is always to be 
proclaimed. Our truth on these matters and like- 
wise the error of others, is something so relative, 
that the good or harm likely to be done by speaking 
ought always to be taken into account. ' I keep 
silence at many things,' says Goethe, ' for I would 
not mislead men, and am well content if others can 
find satisfaction in what gives me offence.' The 
man who believes that his truth on religious 
matters is so absolutely the truth, that say it 
when^ and where, and to whom he will, he cannot 

37 



MILS. nUMl'IlHV WAHD 

but do good ^\■itll it, is in our tUiy almost always 
a man whose truth is half blunder, and wholly 
useless." ^ 

Once stated, however, his language is clear 
enough. 

" Let us admit," he says, " that the Bible cannot 
l)ossibly die ; Init then the churches cannot even 
conceive the Bible withoat the gloss which they 
at present put upon it, and this gloss, as certainly, 
cannot ])ossibly live. ... It is a gloss they all 
put ui)on it, calling it the substratum of belief 
common to all Christian churches, and largely 
shared with them even by jiatural religion. It is 
this so-called axiomatic basis which must go, 
and it supports all the rest." ^ 

And again — 

" Here, then, is the jMoblem : to And, for the 
Bible, for Christianity, for our religion, a basis in 
something which can be verified, instead of in 
something which has to be assumed. So true and 
prophetic are Vinct's words : ' We j)iiisf,' lie said, 
' make it our business to bring forward the rational 
side of Christianity, and to show that for thinkers, 
too, it has a right to be an authority.' Yes, and 
the problem we have stated must be the first stage 
in the business. With this problem unsolved, all 
other religious discussion is idle trifling." ^ 

This is precisely the attitude towards Chris- 

1 Literalitrc and Dogma (London : T. Nelson & Sons, 
1910), preface, pp. vii. and viii. 

2 Ibid. pp. 12 and 13. 

3S 



EARLY IMPRESSIONS AND LATER IDEALS 

tianity and the Bible which Mrs. Ward takes in 
Robert Elsmere and David Grieve. One excerpt, 
culled at random from many a score, will suffice 
to make clear this point. Flaxman, writing to his 
aunt, Lady Charlotte, is giving an account of 
Elsmere's work in London : — 

"Then follows some passage from the life of 
Christ. Elsmere reads it and expounds it, in the 
first place, as a lecturer might expound a passage 
of Tacitus, historically and critically. His ex- 
planation of miracle, his efforts to make his 
audience realise the germs of miraculous belief 
which each man carries with him in the constitu- 
tion and inherited furniture of his mind, are some 
of the most ingenious — perhaps the most con- 
vincing — I have ever heard. My heart and my 
head have never been very much at one, as you 
know, on this matter of the marvellous element in 
religion. 

" But then when the critic has done, the poet and 
the believer begin. Whether he has got hold 
of the true Christ is another matter ; but that the 
Christ he preaches moves the human heart as 
much as — and in the case of the London artisan, 
more than — the current orthodox presentation of 
him, I begin to have ocular demonstration." ^ 

^ Robert Elsmere (London : T. Nelson & Sons, 1909), 
p. 553. It should be noted here that although Nelson's 
edition of certain of Mrs. Ward's works is quoted, the 
original publishers in all cases — except that of Daphne, 
(Cassell's) — are Messrs. Smith, Elder & Co. 

39 



MRS. HUxMPHIlY WARD 

The Arnold influence has been dealt with at 
some length because it appears to have been a very 
powerful one ; but it was by no means the only 
influence that affected Mrs. Ward's work. Traces 
can be found of the pessimism of Amiel, whose 
Journal Intime ]\Irs. Ward translated into 
English in 1885, three years before the appearance 
of Robert Elsmere ; and who can doubt that in 
delineating the character of Langham, Mrs. Ward 
had in mind consciously or unconsciously the 
" volonte qui voudrait vouloir, mais impuissante 
a se fournir a elle-meme des motifs." The soul 
petrified by the sentiment of the infinite, left its 
impress deep in the mind of the translator. 

In her Introduction to this work Mrs. Ward 
says : — 

" The result of another soul's tragedy, another 
conflict and failure, which throws fresh light on 
the mysterious capacities of human nature, and 
warns us, as the letters of Obermann in their day 
warned the generation of George Sand, that 
with the rise of new intellectual perceptions new 
spiritual dangers come into being, and that across 
the path of continuous evolution which the 
modern mind is traversing there lies many a 
selva oscura, many a lonely and desolate track, in 
which loss and pain await it. The story of the 
Journal Intime is a story to make us think, to 
make us anxious ; but at the same time in the case 
of a nature like Amiel's, there is so much high 
poetry thrown off from the long process of conflict, 

40 



EARLY IMPRESSIONS AND LATER IDEALS 

the power of vision and of reproduction which the 
intellect gains at the expense of the rest of the 
personality, is in many respects so real and so 
splendid, and produces results so stirring often 
to the heart and imagination of the listener, that 
in the end we put down the record, not so much 
with a throb of pity, as with an impulse of grati- 
tude. The individual error and suffering is almost 
forgotten ; all that we can realise is the enrichment 
of* human feeling, the quickened sense of spiritual 
reality bequeathed to us by the baffled and 
solitary thinker whose via dolorosa is before us." ^ 

Is it not evident that the Journal made a deep 
impression on the mind of the translator ? 

See with what compassionate sympathy — such 
surely as only a woman can be capable of — she fills 
in the shadows in the character of Langham, her 
wonderful embodiment of the Amiel temperament. 

" So the great moment has come and gone ! 
The one supreme experience which life and his 
own will had so far rigidly denied him, is his._ He 
has felt the torturing thrill of passion — he has 
evoked such an answer as all men might envy 
him — and fresh from Rose's kiss, from Rose's 
beauty, the strange maimed soul falls to a pitiless 
analysis of his passion, her response ! One 
moment he is at her feet in a voiceless trance of 
gratitude and tenderness ; the next — is nothing 
what it promises to be ? — and has the boon already, 

1 Amiel's Jouy)ial (London : Macmillan & Co., 1906), 
pp. 25, 26. 

41 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

now that he has it in his grasp, lost some of its 
beauty, just as the sea-shell drawn out of the 
water, where its lovely iridescence tempted eye 
and hand, loses half its fairy charm ? 

" Think of the little house — the children — the 
money difficulties — she, spiritually starved, every 
illusion gone — you, incapable soon of love, in- 
capable even of pity, conscious only of a dull 
rage with her, yourself, the world ! Bow the 
neck — submit — refuse that long agony for yourself 
and her, while there is still time. Kismet — 
Kismet ! And spread out before Langham's 
shrinking soul there lay a whole dismal Hogarthian 
series, image leading to image, calamity to cala- 
mity, till in the last scene of all the maddened 
inward sight perceived two figures, two grey and 
withered figures, far apart, gazing at each other 
with cold and sunken eyes across dark rivers of 
sordid irremediable regret. The hours passed 
away, and in the end, the spectre self, a cold and 
bloodless conqueror, slipped back into the soul 
which remorse and terror, love and pity, a last 
impulse of hope, a last stirring of manhood, had 
been alike powerless to save." ^ 

What art could be finer, what sympathy greater, 
what analysis more penetrating than this ? And 
is not the impress of Amiel visible in every word of 
it ? As in the Journal the soul is stirred by the 
cry of the strong man in his failure, the heart is 

1 Robert Elsmere (London : T. Nelson & Sons, 1910), 

pp. 433. 434- 

42 



EARLY IMPRESSIONS AND LATER IDEALS 

torn with sorrow as in sympathy it feels his fears, 
condones his contradictions, and helpless, surveys 
the struggle which must inevitably end in despair. 

But perhaps the greatest of all the influences 
that helped from time to time to mould that 
mental entity which we know as Mrs. Humphry 
Ward, was the living personality of Thomas Hill 
Green — the " Grey " of Robert Elsmere. 

Green was a pupil of Jowett. He became a 
le.6turer on Ancient and ^lodern History at Balliol 
in the year i860. His somewhat unorthodox 
religious views made him unwilling to follow the 
course usual to a Fellow in those days, and take 
Holy Orders, though after some hesitation he 
signed the Thirty-Nine Articles on taking his M.A. 
degree. 

In 1870, Jowett became Master of the College and 
Green, as tutor, had now the whole subordmate 
management in his hands. Although lacking some 
of the more superficial talents such as easily win 
popularity, his simplicity, power and earnestness 
always commanded respect. 

He soon grew to be on easy terms with his pupils 
and he acquired the habit of taking some of them 
with him as companions in the Long Vacation. 
He lectured on Aristotle and the early Greek 
philosophy, and especially on the English thinkers 
of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. At 
this time the writings of John Stuart Mill exercised 
a most potent influence in Oxford. 

Green became the leading exponent of the 

43 



MUS. HUMPHRY WARD 

principles of Kant and Hegel, and attracted many 
able followers. In 1878 he was elected to the 
Whyte professorship of Modern Philosophy, and 
the lectures he delivered in this capacity form the 
substance of his Prolegomena to Ethics which was 
published in 1883. 

He died in 1882 and his works have been collected 
and edited in three volumes by Professor Nettleship. 

Vol. I. includes his introduction to Hume and 
his criticisms upon Herbert Spencer ; Vol. H., 
his lectures ; Vol. HI., lectures on the New Testa- 
ment with notes by himself and his hearers. 

This last, of course, is the volume wliich will 
prove of the greatest interest to students of the 
theological difficulties under which Elsmere 
laboured, and it is this volume which contains 
much of the matter that Mrs. Ward has drawn up 
in writing her story. 

That story she dedicated : 

To the Memor}^ of 
My Two Friends 
separated, in my thought of them, by much 
diversity of opinion ; linked in my faith 
about them, to each other, and to all the 
shining ones of the past, by the love of God 
and the service of man : 

Thomas Hill Green 
and 
Laura Octavia Mary Lyttleton. 
(the words " the service of man " are significant, 
as we shall show later). 

44 



EARLY IMPRESSIONS AND LATER IDEALS 

Green was a man, we are told by his contem- 
poraries, whose homely exterior, reserved manner, 
and middle-class radicalism were combined with a 
singular loftiness of character. He recalls, in 
some ways, Wordsworth, of whom he was, to a 
certain degree, a disciple in philosophy ; and 
Bright, whom he followed in politics. In early 
life he was undoubtedly impressed by the work 
of,Carlyle and Maurice. He probably developed 
the philosophical ideas, congenial to him from 
the first, by a sympathetic study of Kant and 
Hegel.i 

" His central conception," says his biographer, 
" is that the Universe is a single eternal activity 
or energy, of which it is the essence to be self- 
conscious, that is, to be itself, and not itself in 
one. His religious philosophy is a constant re- 
production of the idea that the whole of human 
experience is the self-communication or revelation 
of the eternal and absolute being." ^ 

" Whatever may be the ultimate verdict of his 
philosophy" (says the Fellow of Balliol), "even 
his opponents must realise the value of his criti- 
cism of their position and of his attempted ethical 
construction. While denouncing the philosophical 
claims of the utilitarian school, he sympathised to 
a great extent with their practical aims, and 

1 Information re Green gathered from the Dictionary 
of National Biography. 

2 R. L. Nettleship, The Works of Thomas Hill Green. 
Preface to vol. iii. p. Ixxv. 

45 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

admired J. S. Mill as a thinker of exceptional 
worth. 

"As a critic he was at the same time magnani- 
mous and unsparing, both by his character and his 
logical power he gave a potent stimulus to many 
thinkers who have greatly modified his position." ^ 

The words put into the mouth of Grey by Mrs. 
Ward are noteworthy as being the first expression 
of that doubt — that questioning of the verbal 
inspiration of the Scriptures — which caused such 
a shock to many minds on the first appearance of 
Robert Elsmere, and which brought forth an elo- 
quent defence from no less a person than Mr. 
Gladstone himself in the Nineteenth Century Review. 
Here is the passage which led to so much con- 
troversy : —  

" Much of the sermon itself, indeed, was beyond 
him. It was on the meaning of St. Paul's great 
conception, ' A death unto sin and a new birth 
unto righteousness.' What did the Apostle mean 
by a death to sin and self ? What were the 
precise ideas attached to the words ' risen with 
Christ ' ? Are this death and this resurrection 
necessarily dependent upon certain alleged his- 
torical events ? Or are they not primarily and 
were they not, even in the mind of St. Paul, two 
aspects of a spiritual process perpetually re- 
enacted in the soul of man and constituting the 

1 A Life of Thomas Hill Green has been written by 
Professor Nettleship and forms the Preface to Green's 
works, vol. iii. 

46 



EARLY IMPRESSIONS AND LATER IDEALS 

veritable revelation of God ? Which is the 
stable and lasting witness of the Father ; the 
spiritual history of the individual and the world, 
or the envelope of miracle to which hitherto man- 
kind has attributed so much importance ? " ^ 

" Grey " is here obviously thinking along the 
same lines as Arnold had done some time earlier. 

" Miracles," says Arnold, " have to go the same 
way as clericalism and tradition ; and the im- 
portant thing is, not that the world should be acute 
enough to see this (there needs, indeed, no remark- 
able acuteness to see it) but that a great and pro- 
gressive part of the world should be capable of 
seeing this, and of yet holding fast to Chris- 
tianity." 2 

Mrs. Ward, however, is careful to show that 
" Grey " also is not antagonistic to Christianity. 

"The whole basis of Grey's thought," she says, 
" was ardently idealist and Hegelian. He had 
broken with the popular Christianity, but for 
him, God, consciousness, duty, were the only 
realities. None of the various forms of material- 
istic thought escaped his challenge ; no genuine 
utterance of the spiritual life of man but was sure 
of his sympathy. It was known that after having 
prepared himself for the Christian ministrj', he 
had remained a layman because it had become 

1 Robert Elsmere (London : T. Nelson & Sons, 1910), 
pp. 60, 61. 

- Literature and Dogma (Preface to the Popular Edition) 
(London : T. Nelson & Sons, iQio), p. 21. 

47 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

impossible to him to accept miracle ; and it was 
evident that the commoner type of Churchman 
regarded him as an antagonist, all the more dan- 
gerous because he was so sympathetic." ^ 

Just as Arnold himself was careful to assert time 
after time and in ever - varying form about his 
Literature and Dogma : — 

" It is not an attack upon miracles and the super- 
natural. It unreservedly admits, indeed, that the 
belief in them has given way and cannot be 
restored, it recommends entire lucidity of mind 
on this subject, it points out certain characters of 
weakness in the sanction drawn from miracles, 
even while the belief in them lasted. Its real 
concern, however, is not with miracles, but with 
the natural truth of Christianity." ^ 

Still the fact is that both it and Robert Elsmere 
were popularly regarded for a time as attacking 
Christianity. 

But actually the message which Mrs. Ward 
set herself to convey to the vast public who read 
little else but fiction, was that there is sl rational 
side of Christianity, and that dogma is not essential 
to true religion ; but that personal service and 
devotion are essential. And the means whereby 
that message was conveyed was the novel Robert 
Elsmere, reinforced four years later by The History 
of David Grieve. 

1 Robert Elsmere, p. 64. 

- Literature and Dogma (London : T. Nelson & Sons, 
1910), p. 21. 

48 



EARLY IMPRESSIONS AND LATER IDEALS 

The essence of I\Irs. Ward's creed as stated in 
these two works, and more especially in the former, 
is practical Christianity, and from thence to Social 
Reform is but a short step, for was not Christ 
himself a great Social Reformer ? We are not 
surprised, therefore, to find her next two works — 
MarcellaandSir George Tressady — occupied with this 
great subject. That Mrs. Ward had made a deep 
and earnest study of the ethical and religious 
movements of the times before arriving at her own 
conclusions, is evident throughout her work ; but 
nowhere is it more marked than when she is 
analysing the mental attitude of David Grieve — 
witness her masterful handling of the subject, in 
Grieve's diary. There we have a concise statement 
of the whole religious difficulty ; this diary re- 
presents admirably the questions and doubts 
which agitated this country at the time when 
Robert Elsmere appeared. The effect of thus 
popularising the controversy can well be imagined, 
and we learn without surprise that the public 
bought 170,000 copies of the work. For the 
Briton, be he English, Scotch, Welsh or Irish, 
loves controversy, and more especially religious 
controversy. How great was the service rendered 
to the nation when Mrs. Ward turned the trend of 
all this verbose enthusiasm towards the nobler 
work of social service, it would be difficult to 
overestimate, but it is just at this point that she 
has broken away from the Arnold tradition, and 
has followed rather Cotter Morison. 

D 49 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

The whole tone of Literature and Dogma and of 
Culture and Anarchy is personal, but Morison's 
view is national. 

" The complexity of social problems," he says, 
"is so great, they need regarding from so many 
points of view, their right solution is so important, 
their \vTong solution so perilous, that they can no 
longer be left to any official or limited class of 
inquirers. They concern all citizens ; and few 
duties in our day are so imperative as their earnest, 
persistent, and reflective study. They do not 
happily need much book-lore. Clear heads and 
resolute hearts, aided by eyes open to the facts 
around them, will for this purpose more avail 
than academic culture. The modern man in 
search of well-being has two ends to bear in mind : 
First, his own self-cultivation, especially of his 
heart, as incomparably most important both to 
his own happiness and that of others. Secondly, 
it behoves him to help his fellows to the extent 
of his power, by such improvements in the practice 
and theory of life as he can make good by sound 
reasons. In this direction I admit that he may 
encounter not prosperity, but persecution or even 
worse ; but if he is a true man he will not mind 
that. Nor will the probable gloom of the coming 
time daunt brave hearts. There is a mauvais pas 
before us all, which we must get over as best we 
can. But nerve and resolution can do wonders ; 
and men never appear and act so much to their 
advantage as when put undisguisedly on their 

50 



EARLY IMPRESSIONS AND LATER IDEALS 

mettle. Not by the promise of soft and smooth 
things are they attracted, but by the difficult and 
the dangerous. Bad as the forecast is, and great 
as the suffering before long may be, if only ade- 
quately realised, and faced with neither panic 
fear nor thoughtless hope, the situation might 
begin to improve almost at once." ^ 

Here breathes the spirit of the true patriot and 
reformer, "to help his fellows" — nothing of the 
egoist in this. Morison, in fact, was probably 
thinking of Arnold when he wrote the paragraph ; 
at any rate the sentence " clear heads and resolute 
hearts . . . will . . . more avail than academic 
culture " would seem to savour of a gentle admoni- 
tion to the great apostle of culture. 

Arnold's, indeed, is a purely selfish form of re- 
ligion, and one that would ill serve an ambitious 
and progressive nation like our own ; for, just as 
throughout Nature all the varied forms of life, in 
seeking their own satisfaction, yet unconsciously 
serve Nature's ends in striving for their own 
reward, so (as it is with individuals) is it with 
nations. 

In the development of a nation mutual aid 
must represent a higher form of life than struggle 
does, especiahy when the choice is dictated by the 
conscious and voluntary co-operation of the nation 
in the fulfilment of its own higher destiny. 

After all, a nation's progress is largely governed 

1 The Service of Man (London : Kegan Paul, Trench & 
Co., 1888), Preface, pp. xxvi and xxvii. 

51 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

by its ideals. These in turn are made up of the 
ideals of that country's citizens. Wrong ideals do 
not pay, for the nation any more than for the in- 
dividual, and because, where there is progress, 
ideals must change, and ideas must develop, 
so economic systems, like systems of belief, have 
their day and cease to be. A new order is but part 
of the great system of evolution. It is for these 
reasons that the present condition of economic 
chaos that may be observed both in England and 
the United States, with their vast contrasts of 
wealth and poverty, mark a transitional stage, 
rather than a fixed and permanent condition. 

It is clear, therefore, that Arnold's doctrine of 
individual conduct is insufficient for the needs of 
to-day. Modern Imperialism demands that each 
man should take an altruistic view of his fellows. 
No one member of a great empire can live for him- 
self alone without injury to that empire. The 
condition of his fellows must needs be one of his 
first considerations, for no empire can exist the 
units of which are below a certain standard in 
physical and mental condition. 

Mrs. Ward herself would seem to have thoroughly 
grasped this imperial idea, although she does not 
propound it in quite the same form as has been 
done here. Still she makes it always part of her 
hero's business — Robert Elsmere being still the 
hero — to care for the condition of those with whom 
he is brought into contact, and to make strenuous 
efforts to better those conditions whenever they 

52 



EARLY IMPRESSIONS AND LATER IDEALS 

are found to be below the standard required by a 
life, mentally, morally and physically healthy : 
witness Elsmere's work in the East End of London : — 
" Another project of Robert's, started as soon 
as he had felt his way a little in the district, was 
the scientific Sunday School. This was the direct 
result of a paragraph in Huxley's Lay Sermons, 
where the hint of such a school was first thrown 
out. However, since the introduction of science- 
teaching into the Board Schools, the novelty 
and necessity of such a supplement to a child's 
ordinary education is not what it was. Robert 
set it up mainly for the sake of drawing the boys 
out of the streets in the afternoons, and providing 
them with some other food for fancy and delight 
than larking and smoking and penny dreadfuls. 
A little simple chemical and electrical experiment 
went down greatly ; so did a botany class, to 
which Elsmere would come armed with stores of 
flowers, one to be picked to pieces, the other to be 
distributed according to memory and attention. 
A year before he had had a number of large coloured 
plates of tropical fruit and flowers prepared for 
him by a Kew assistant. These he would often 
set up on a large screen, or put on the walls, till 
the dingy schoolroom became a bower of superb 
blossom and luxuriant leaf, a glow of red and 
purple and orange. And then — still by the help 
of pictures— he would take his class on a tour 
through strange lands, talking to them of China 
or Egypt or South America, till they followed him 

53 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

up the Amazon, or into the Pyramids, or through 
the Pampas, or into the mysterious buried cities 
of Mexico, as the children of Hamehn followed the 
magic of Pied Piper." ^ 

In essence this is true national and imperial 
work that Elsmere is doing, though apparently 
local in character. Yet who can envisage the 
ultimate good that might result from a semination 
of hundreds of such centres of activity throughout 
the land, radiating their moral influences around 
them, raising the physical and ethical standards 
of all who come within their sphere of influence I 
In such centres or settlements we find life, work, 
and faith, all beautifully blended in the service 
of mankind, and here surely we have the realisa- 
tion of our author's own aspirations after a re- 
ligious and moral ideal, that ideal which she made 
it her mission to preach through the medium of 
fiction. 

Now the question naturally arises, " Is it legiti- 
mate to use the novel for the purposes of pro- 
paganda ? " and the author herself has answered 
it fully and finally : — 

" As one looks back over the history of the novel 
nothing seems to be so clear as that it has ' borne ' 
everything of whatever kind that a writer who 
could make himself heard was minded to put into 
it. In the days of Cervantes the novel, fishlike, 
swallowed other novels whole, and the adventures 

^ Robert Elsmere (London : T. Nelson & Sons, 1910), 
P.'456. 

54 



EARLY IMPRESSIONS AND LATER IDEALS 

of the immortal knight came to a standstill while 
the fortunes and career of ' El Curioso Impertin- 
ente ' unrolled. In the days of Julie the cadre 
supplied by the loves of Saint-Preus and Madame 
de Wolmar admitted of the introduction of a vast 
amount of material which would make the critic 
of to-day rise in his wrath — discussions of the 
opera, of the qualities of women of the world, of 
the existence of God, of the proper management of 
children and estates, and much else. The dis- 
cussions happened to be interesting then, and 
they are interesting historically now. Rousseau 
wrote as the spirit moved him, choosing out of 
the variegated spectacle of life what attracted 
him, and the instant response of his generation 
— in spite of the sarcasms of Voltaire — showed 
that he was right. Wilhelm Meister wanders, 
digresses, and preaches as Goethe pleases, but the 
man who wrote of life and thought in it, had lived 
and thought ; and, formless as it is, the book has 
entered into the training of Europe. Chateau- 
briand, George Sand and Victor Hugo have bent 
the novel to all the purposes of propaganda in 
turn. Theology, politics, social problems and 
reforms, they have laid hands on them all, and 
have but stirred the more vibrations thereby in 
the life of their time. And which of them, from 
Don Quixote downwards, will you save from this 
opprobrious category of ' novels with a purpose ' ? 
— which of them has not tried in its own way and 
with its own vehemence to ' reform the world, 

55 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

whether it be by throwing an effete Hterature 
out of window, or by holding up the picture of 
married virtue and rehgious faith beside that of 
illicit love and empty doubt, or by showing forth 
the wrongs and difficulties of women, or by the 
passionate attempt to make the world realise 
the pressure of the pyramid of our civilised society 
on the poor and the weak at its base." ^ 

And finally coming to close quarters, she says : —  
" As for me, I am so made that I cannot picture 
a human being's development without wanting 
to know the whole, his religion as well as his busi- 
ness, his thoughts as well as his actions. I cannot 
try to reflect my time without taking account of 
forces, which are at least as real and living as any 
other forces, and have at least as much to do 
with the drama of human existence about me. 
' The two great forming agencies of the world's 
history have been the religious and the economic,' 
says Professor Marshall. Every one will agree 
that in his own way the novelist may handle the 
economic. By and by we shall all agree that in 
his own way he may handle the ' religious.' For 
every artist of whatever type there is one inexor- 
able law. Your ' criticism of life ' must be 
fashioned under the conditions of imaginative 
truth and imaginative beauty. If you, being a 
novelist, make a dull story, not all the religious 
argument in the world will or should save you. 

^ The History of David Grieve (London : Smith, Elder 
& Co., popular edition, 1906), Preface, pp. xv and xvi. 

56 



EARLY IMPRESSIONS AND LATER IDEALS 

For your business is to make a novel, not a pamph- 
let ; a reflection of human life, and not merely a 
record of intellectual conception. But under 
these conditions everything is open — try what you 
will — and the response of your fellows, and that 
only, will decide your success." ^ 

It will be noted that Mrs. Ward in this brief 
apologia goes to France and Germany for her 
models. Maine, on the other hand, looks at home 
iu' noting the same tendencies, and singles out 
Dickens as the arch-propagandist. 

"Dickens," he says, "who spent his early 
manhood among the politicians of 1832 trained in 
Bentham's school, hardly ever wrote a novel without 
attacking an abuse. The procedure of the Court 
of Chancery and of the Ecclesiastical Courts, the 
delays of the Public Offices, the costliness of 
divorce, the state of the dwellings of the poor, 
and the condition of the cheap schools in the North 
of England furnished him with what he seemed to 
consider, in all sincerity, the true moral of a series 
of fictions." - 

Some have questioned the wisdom, or the justice, 
or the advisability of these popular campaigns 
against long-standing abuses, but one great English- 
man at least has not hesitated to use his trenchant 
pen in defence of the method as practised by Dickens. 

" I wish," says Ruskin, " that he could think 

1 The History of David Grieve (Loudon : Smith, Elder & 
Co., popular edition, 190'j), Preface, p. xviii. 
- Popular Government, p. 1^3. 

57^ 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

it right to limit the brilliant exaggeration to works 
written only for public amusement ; and when 
he takes up a subject of high national importance, 
such as that which he handled in Hard Times, 
that he would use severer and more accurate 
analysis. . . . But let us not lose the use of 
Dickens's wit and insight, because he chooses to 
speak in a circle of stage fire. He is entirely 
right in every book he has written ; and all of 
them, but especially Hard Times, should be studied 
with close and earnest care by persons interested 
in social questions. They will find much that is 
partial, and, because partial, apparently unjust ; 
but if they examine all the evidence on the other 
side, which Dickens seems to overlook, it will 
appear, after all their trouble, that his view was 
the finally right one, grossly and sharply told." ^ 

The evidence available, therefore, would appear 
to point to good service having been rendered to 
the State through the medium of fiction, and so it 
may be assumed that Mrs. Ward is not only amply 
justified, but that she even thereby acquires some 
of the glamour of a public benefactor. 

1 Unto This Last (London : George Allen & Sons, 1877) , 
2nd edition, pp. 14, 15. 



;8 



CHAPTER III 



HER LITERARY WORK — THE INFLUENCE OF FRANCE 



Mrs. Humphry Ward would hardly be classed 
among the prolific writers. She has produced 
in thirty years, fourteen novels, two plays, one 
translation, one short story, and numerous articles. 
The novels are as follows, in chronological order : — 



I88I 


Milly and Oily. 


1886 . 


Miss Br ether ton. 


1888 


Robert Elsmere. 


1892 . 


The History of David Grieve. 


1894 


Marcella. 


1896 


Sir George Tressady. 


1898 


Helbeck of Bannisdale. 


1900 


Eleanor. 


1903 


Lady Rose's Daughter. 


1905 


The Marriage of William Ashe. 


1906 


Fenwick's Career. 


1909 


Daphne. 


I9I0 


Canadian Born. 


I9II 


. The Case of Richard Meynell. 


Omitting 


the first, which is simply a children's 


story, these ^ 


vorks may be classified as follows : — 




59 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

[a] Stories with some question of Religious 
Controversy as the chief theme : — Robert Elsmere, 
David Grieve, Helheck of Bannisdale, The Case of 
Richard Meynell. 

{b) Stories involving problems of Social Re- 
form : — Marcella and Sir George Tressady. 

(c) Studies of Character : — Miss Bretherton, 
Eleanor, Lady Rose's Daughter. 

{-(l) Studies of certain Phases of Society : — The 
Marriage of William Ashe (Political), Fenwick's 
Career (Artistic), Canadian Born (Colonial). 

This division is of course arbitrary, for each 
romance contains studies of character, and the 
whole series might be re-classified as studies of 
certain phases of society. 

It will be seen that the author's average time 
for writing a romance is two years, but David 
Grieve, her longest, and (according to the view of 
many critics) the most polished output from her 
pen, occupied double the average time. Her 
busiest year was 1905, during which she wrote 
and produced the play Agatha as well as the 
romance Fenwick's Career. The other play from 
her pen is a dramatised version of her story 
Eleanor, which was successfully produced at the 
Court Theatre in 1902. Canadian Born also 
took only two years to write, for it is the result 
of her travels in Canada in the months of May and 
June 1008. In addition, Mrs. Ward has contri- 
buted articles to Macmillan's Magazine, the 
Nineteenth Century, and the Quarterly Review. 

60 



HER LITERARY WORK 

She wrote also the articles on " Bishops " and 
" Kings " in Vols. ii. and iii. of Smith's Dic- 
tionary of Christian Biography. 

In 1885 she published a translation of Amiel's 
Journal Intime, but there is no evidence as to 
the time occupied in its production. 

Truly a life of steady purpose faithfully fulfilled. 
If Amiel's Journal occupied the full four years 
from 1881 to 1885, there is only one break in the 
whole issue, namely, 1906 to 1908. And it must 
always be remembered that Mrs. Ward has had 
the cluties of a wife and'mother (she has a son and 
two daughters) to be performed side by side with 
her literary work. Only a personality in whom the 
genius for writing is strongly developed could carry 
out such a double task, and with such success. 

She comes, of course, of a literary strain, and so 
had the writing tradition inbred from the cradle, 
but of how many others may the same thing be 
said and how few have profited by it ! 

We have already (in Chap. II.) traced the 
influence of her uncle's work on her ethical and 
religious aspirations. We are able also to trace 
the same influence in her literary work. Thus, 
Arnold would divide up all humanity into three 
classes, namely. Aristocrats (Barbarians), Middle- 
class (Philistines) and Proletarians (Populace). 

" The second thing to be borne in mind," he 
says, " I have indicated several times already. 
It is this. All of us, so far as we are Barbarians, 
Philistines, or Populace, imagine happiness to 

61 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

consist in doing what one's ordinary self likes. 
What one's ordinary self likes differs according 
to the class to which one belongs, and has its 
severer and its lighter side ; always, however, 
remaining machinery, and nothing more. The 
graver self of the Barbarian likes honours and 
consideration ; his more relaxed self, field sports 
and pleasure. The graver self of one kind of 
Philistine likes fanaticism, business and money- 
making ; his more relaxed self, comfort and 
tea-meetings. Of another kind of Philistine, the 
graver self likes rattening ; the relaxed self, 
deputations, or hearing Mr. Odger speak. The 
sterner self of the Populace likes bawling, hustling, 
and smashing ; the lighter self, beer. But in 
each class there are born a certain number of 
natures with a curiosity about their best self, 
with a bent for seeing things as they are, for 
disentangling themselves from machinery, for 
simply concerning themselves with reason and 
the will of God, and doing their best to make 
these prevail ; — for the pursuit, in a word, of 
perfection." ^ 

These last, of course, are the Cultured, " the 
little leaven, that leaveneth the whole lump," and 
it is from this group — it cannot be called a class — 
that Mrs. Ward draws her heroes and heroines 
and many of the more important characters in 
her stories. 

1 Culture and Anarchy {hondon : T. Nelson & Sons, 1910), 
pp. 195, 196. 

62 



HER LITERARY WORK 

Let us take the chief personages in Robert 
Elsmere and see how easily each falls into one 
of Arnold's three classes — unless, indeed, he or 
she belong to his elect, the Cultured. 

Barbarians. — Sir Mowbray, Elsmere, Lady 
Charlotte, Mr. Wynnstay, Mrs. Darcy, Madame de 
Notteville, Hugh Flaxman, Lady Helen. 

Philistines. — Mrs. Thornburgh, Mrs. Leyburn, 
Catherine, Agnes, Dr. Baker, Henslowe, Armistead, 
Edraondson. 

Populace. — Mary Backhouse, Ned Irwin, Old 
Macdonald, Tom Wheeler. 

Cultured. — Robert Elsmere, Rose, Mr. Grey, 
Langham, Mr. Wendover (the Squire). 

A study of the story itself reveals the over- 
whelming importance of those characters classified 
above as Cultured — the others, indeed, being 
(with the exception of Catherine) mere pawns 
without whose help the story could have been 
told. Here, then, we see the influence of the 
teacher-uncle in all its fullness ; Arnold preaches 
Culture — his niece writes a story in which all the 
chief personages are cultured. 

Lest the classification should be thought to 
be peculiar to this one story, lest the Arnold 
influence should be supposed to apply only in 
this one case, let us apply the same test of 
classification to two more of the author's works, 
namely, Marcella and David Grieve — these two 
with Robert Elsmere being in the judgment of 
many the three works which will still be read 

63 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

in the years when the others shall perhaps be 
forgotten. 

Marcella. 

Barbarians. — Lord Maxwell, Miss Raeburn, 
Aldous Raeburn, Lady Winterbourne, Lady Selina 
Farrell. 

Philistines. — The Hardens, Mr. Boyce, Frank 
Leven, Betty Macdonald, Mr. Pearson. 

Populace. — The Westalls, Dick Patton, Mrs. 
Jellison, the Kurds, Mrs. Jarvis, Mrs. Vincent. 

Cultured. — Marcella, Wharton, Hallin, the 
Cravens, Mrs. Boyce. 

Again the story is focussed about this last group, 
plus Aldous Raeburn (who might, perhaps, have 
been included among the Cultured), being, to a 
large extent, the struggle between Raeburn and 
Wharton for Marcella's affection. And now let 
us take 

The History of David Grieve. 

Here Mrs. Ward departs somewhat from her 
usual method by making her hero a son of the 
people : the effect of this on our test of classifica- 
tion is to considerably reduce the number of the 
first class : — 

Barbarians. — Lady Driffield, Colonel Danby. 

Philistines. — The Purcells, Mr. Doyle, M. 
Barbier, Madame Cervin. 

Populace. — Louie Grieve, Hannah Grieve,Reuben 
Grieve, Jim Wigson, Margaret Dawson, John 
Dalby. 

Cultured. — David Grieve, Canon Aylwin, Lord 

64 



HER LITERARY WORK 

Driffield, Mr. Ancrum, the Dean of Bradford, 
Marcia Wellesdon, Dora Lomax, Elsie Delaunay. 

It may be thought that this is merely a natural 
tendency on the part of an author born and bred 
in a family of cultured persons. But does the 
history of literature bear out such a supposition ? 
Did Victor Hugo, of military stock, write mainly 
of military matters ? Did Balzac, of medical 
stock, lay his plots chiefly among the hospitals 
and doctors ? Think of the immense variety 
of subjects dealt with by Dickens, the son of a 
clerk ! And what of Hauff, Perrault, and Grimm, 
the gi^eat wTiters of fairy tales ? No, such a 
proposition will not hold for a moment. The 
greatness of a writer of fiction must obviously 
depend on that writer's gift of imagination, 
dramatic power, analysis of character, presentation 
of the emotions, descriptions of nature. The 
influence of family on these matters is of 
quite secondary importance, but the influence 
of mind on mind is, on the contrary, often very 
marked. In support of this contention one has 
only to cite two well-known cases, namely, 
Chaucer's influence on Spencer, and Dickens's 
influence on Daudet. By analogy, then, we 
mark the influence of Matthew Arnold on Mrs. 
Humphry Ward. 

And what a field of literature she has covered 

in her reading ! There is probably no writer of 

romance in any language who can be compared 

with her in this respect. And, indeed, few writers 

E 65 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

have had the advantage of being brought up in 

such a milieu as she was. In the Arnold household 

learning was in the air — the very times were 

learned by reason of the extraordinary wealth of 

great thinkers that the period produced. Let 

us take categorically by way of illustrating this 

point, the references to, or quotations from, the 

masters of literature and philosophy which are 

to be found in the work which brought fame to 

Mrs. Ward: — 

Robert Elsmere.^ 

Jane Austen, p. 26 ; George Sand, p. 39 ; Shelley, 
id. ; Wordsworth, id. ; Shakespeare, p. 47 ; Goethe, 
id. ; Spencer, p. 49; Ovid, id. ; Virgil, id. ; Pope, id. ; 
.^schylus, id. ; Milton, id. ; Senancour {Reveries), 
p. 58 ; Pusey, p. 75 ; George Herbert, p. 78 ; Keble, 
p. 79 ; Thomas a Kempis, p. 80 ; Ruskin, p. 169 ; 
Darwin, id. ; Montaigne, p. 183; Ben Jonson, p. 193; 
Andrew Marvell, id. ; Addison, id. ; Swift, id. ; Du 
Bellay (Visions), id. ; Chateaubriand {Memoires 
d' Outre Tombe), id. ; Hooker, p. 194; Hume, id.; 
Schelling, p. 195 ; Humboldt, id. ; Boeckh, id. ; 
Niebuhr {History) and von Savigny, id. ; Cato, p. 
198 ; Addison, id. ; Strauss (Leben Jesu) ; Baur and 
Ewald, id. ; Newman {Apologia), id. ; Madame de 
Stael, p. 211; Guizot, p. 212; Bacon, id. ; Kingsley, 
p. 230; Maurice, p. 231 ; Ruskin, id. ; Renan, p. 232 ; 
Moliere, p. 238 ; Mommsen, p. 249 ; Augustine 
{Confessions), p. 260 ; Gibbon, p. 261 ; von Ranke, 
p. 296; Heine, id.; Livy, p. 308; Justinian, id.; 
1 (London : T. Nelson & Sons, 19 10). 

66 



HER LITERARY WORK 

Tacitus, p. 311 ; Westcott, p. 313 ; Bunyan, p. 331 ; 
Chaucer, p. 400 ; Bronte, p. 417 ; Walter Scott, 
p. 455 ; Carlyle, id. ; Huxley {Lay Sermons), p. 456 ; 
Locke, p. 483 ; Comte, p. 491 ; Victor Hugo, p. 501 ; 
Montalembert, id. ; Lammennais, id. ; Maurice de 
Guerin, id. ; Talleyrand, p. 502 ; Vinet, p. 554 ; 
Voltaire, p. 568 ; Tennyson, p. 574 ; Herbert Spencer, 
p. 575. A total of 75 of the masters of literature ! 
Sometimes the authority is quoted, as on p. 554 : — 
" I thought of a saying of Vinet's ' C'est pour la 
religion que le peuple a le plus de. talent ; c'est en 
religion qu'il montre le plus d' esprit.' " 
Sometimes sub-quoted, as on p. 560 :— 
" Like Heine I am qualified to give lectures in 
heaven on the ignorance of doctors on earth." 
Sometimes merely referred to, as on p. 574 : — 
" Then it would be the turn of his favourite 
poets — Wordsworth, Tennyson, Virgil." 
— but always with a clear understanding, as the 
text shows, of the matters dealt with. 

There is perhaps a pardonable pride on the 
part of the young author discernible in this 
display of erudition, but it is never obtrusive, 
and the whole subject is one that could not have 
been handled except by a person of generous 
culture and reading. 

Perhaps that quality which is most lacking in 
Mrs. Ward's work is wit. In the eyes of a critic 
of Latin or Celtic origin this will appear to be a 
distinct defect, but we Anglo-Saxons do not so 
regard it. There is deeply implanted in our 

67 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

natures an ineradicable respect for all that is 
serious and earnest, and had Mrs. Ward attempted 
to mingle wit with her wisdom, the result would 
have been to lessen the effectiveness of her 
message. For humour is still apt to be regarded 
with suspicion among us ; and when introduced 
into matters that are not naturally humorous, 
it is deeply resented. 

This fact has been recognised again and again 
by the great French critics, one of the most recent 
pronouncements on the subject being that of 
M. Firmin Roz : — " L' esprit est la forme alerte 
et brillante de I'intelligence pure, et I'Angleterre 
se mefie de I'intelligence pure : elle a, au contraire, 
la passion des realites objectives." ^ 

This is very true ; but if Mrs. Ward lacks wit, 
she is not wanting in wisdom. Her extraordinary 
powers of characterisation are sufficient evidence 
of this ; here and there, moreover, nuggets of wit, 
like the " wise sayings " of our fathers, are to be 
found embedded in the text. A few of these 
sayings have been dug out (to continue the meta- 
phor) and are produced here as witnesses : — 

" Men always make themselves believe what 
they want to believe." — Miss Bretherton, p. 138. 

"There are two things that protect men (of a 
certain stamp) from their own lack of moral 
stamina ; perpetual change of scene, that turns the 
world into a spectacle — and love." — Sir George 
Tressady, p. 181. 

^ Revue des Deux Monies, 15 Mar.s 1910, p. 387. 

68 



HER LITERARY WORK 

"It is perhaps truer of the moral world than of 
the social that one half of it never conceives how 
the other half lives." — Ibid. p. 464. 

" We use the words ' spiritual,' ' poetic,' in 
relation to human conduct ; we talk as though 
all that the words meant were familiarly under- 
stood by us ; and yet when the spiritual or poetic 
comes actually to walk among us — we find it 
amazing, almost inhuman." — Ibid. p. 526. 

" For the woman that has come to hunger for 
her husband's step there is no more ennui." — 
Ibid. p. 529. 

Neither does she despise the artless paradox : — 

" That wonderful generosity that the poor show 
every day to the rich." — The Marriage of William 
Ashe, p. 182. 

Mrs. Ward's one attempt at the writing of a 
short story can be frankly pronounced a complete 
success — The Story of Bessie Costrell. If the author 
has a fault it is to be found in a certain prolixity, 
an insistence of details which do not in any way 
add to the interest of the story but rather detract 
therefrom. The Story of Bessie Costrell, however, 
being a brief psychological study of the trial and 
fall of the heroine, a woman of the peasant class, 
requires a concentration of action which has been 
all to the good ; the light and shade have here their 
due proportions, and the result is a masterly sketch 
of great power and interest. 

And if Mrs. Ward has successfully painted the 
peasant — and who that has studied the earher 

69 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

part of The History of David Grieve can doubt 
this ? — how much more successful has she been 
in depicting the aristocrat ? In her various 
stories of what our French friends call " high life " 
she has given us a perfect gallery of likenesses of 
such astonishing verisimilitude that M. Firmin 
Roz says of them : '' Je ne serais pas surpris 
queUes fussent des portraits." ^ 

This is especially the case in Lady Rose's 
Daughter, where the characters of Lady Henry, 
Lord Lackington, Sir Wilfred Bury and Meredith 
are presented with remarkable precision and 
truth. The heroine is indeed an inspiration from 
Julie de Lespinasse ; and Lady Henry doubtless 
a blending of Mme de Deffand with some English 
lady of title of similar disposition, and well known 
to the author ; but this fact in no way detracts 
from the excellence of the characterisation. 

Sometimes we think we can read history in her 
romances, as in The Marriage of William Ashe, 
which might be taken to be the story of Lord 
Melbourne, Lady Mary Lamb and Lord Byron ; 
or in Fenwick's Career, where many will see the 
career not of Fenwick but of Haydon the painter. 
Yet ]\Irs. Ward has duly warned us early in her 
own literary career against a too liberal divination 
of this nature. In an introductory note to Miss 
Bretherton, she says : — 

" This charge of portraiture is constantly brought 
against the novelist, and it is always a difficult 
^ Revue des Deux Mondes, 1 5 Mars 19 10. 
70 



HER LITERARY WORK 

one to meet ; but one may begin by pointing out 
that, in general, it implies a radical misconception 
of the story-teller's methods of procedure. An 
idea, a situation is suggested to him by real life, 
he takes traits and peculiarities from this or that 
person whom he has known or seen, but this is 
all. When he comes to write — unless, of course, 
it is a case of malice and bad faith — the mere 
necessities of an imaginative effort oblige him to 
cut himself adrift from reality. His characters 
become to him the creatures of a dream, as vivid 
often as his waking life, but still a dream. And 
the only portraits he is drawing are portraits of 
phantoms, of which the germs were present in 
reality, but to which he himself has given voice, 
garb, and action." ^ 

One cannot fail to observe from the frequent 
quotation of, and reference to, French authors, 
the influence exercised over Mrs. Ward's work by 
" that fascinating French literature which absorbs, 
generation after generation, the interests of two- 
thirds of those who are sensitive to the things of 
letters." ^ Let us note now some indications of 
the author's great admiration for the French 
theatre and drama. 

The whole of the romance entitled Miss Brether- 
ton is a story of the stage. 

The heroine is an actress who, as far as her art 

^ Miss Bretherton (London: Macmillan & Co., 1896), 
pp. vii and viii. 
2 Ibid. p. 16. 

71 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

is concerned, is a failure until she has been coached 
into confidence and conviction by no less a person 
than Eustace de Chateauvieux, the first secretary 
to the French Embassy and a constant contributor 
to the Revue des Deux Mondes. Throughout 
this book one finds frequent paragraphs of eulogium 
on the French theatre ; let us quote a few in 
illustration. 

" What folly it is ever to expect a great dramatic 
art in England. We have no sense of the rudi- 
ments of the thing. The French would no more 
tolerate such acting as this because of the beauty 
of the actress than they would judge a picture by 
its frame." ^ 

" She has some capacity, of course ; if only the 
conditions had been different — if she had been 
born within a hundred miles of the Paris Con- 
servatoire, if her youth had been passed in a society 
of more intellectual weight \" ^ 

" You remember Desforets in this same theatre 
last year in Adrienne Lecouvreur ? . . . What a 
gulf between the right thing and the wrong ! " ^ 

" I began to recall many an evening at the 
Frangais with you, and one part after another, one 
actor after another, recurred to me, till, as I realised 
afresh what dramatic intelligence and dramatic 
training really are, I fell into an angry contempt 
for our lavish English enthusiasms." * 

^ Miss Bretherion (London: Macmillan & Co., 1896), 

V-37- 

^ Ibid. p. 43. 3 Ibid. p. 44. * Ibid. p. 48. 

72 



HER LITERARY WORK 

" Kendal took particular pains, when they 
glided off from the topic of his sister to more 
general matters, to make her (Miss Bretherton) 
realise some of the finer aspects of the French 
world of which she knew so little . . . the labori- 
ous technical training to which the dwellers on 
the other side of the Channel submit themselves 
so much more readily than the English in matters 
of art ; the intellectual consciousness and refine- 
ment due to the pressure of an organised and con- 
tinuous tradition, and so on." ^ 

" French you positively must learn and quickly. 
I don't mean to say that we haven't good plays 
and a tradition of our own ; but, for the moment, 
France is the centre of your art, and you cannot 
remain at a distance from it. The French have 
organised their knowledge ; it is available for 
all who come. Ours is still floating and ama- 
teurish." ^ 

" The ghastliness and horror of it are beyond 
her resources ; she could not infuse them with 
that terrible beauty which Desforets would have 
given to every line. But where is the English 
actress that has ever yet succeeded in it ? " ^ 

These extracts constitute a truly generous testi- 
mony to the excellence of the French theatre, and 
at the same time they witness to the deep im- 
pression made on the author by that theatre. 

It is perhaps worthy of note, as a further evidence 

^ Miss Bretherton, p. 72. 

2 Ibid. p. 140. ^ Ihid. p. 144. 

7Z 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

of French influence, that in most of these romances 
one or two of the secondary characters are French. 
Thus : 

In Miss Bretherton we have M. de Chateauvieux ; 

In Robert Elsmere we have Mme de Netteville ; 

In Marcella we have MHe Renier ; 

In David Grieve we have M. Barbier, Mme 
Cervin, Mme Merichat, Elsie Delaunay, 
Montjoie, Regnault ; 

In Sir George Tressady we have Justine ; 

In Lady Rose's Daughter we have Mme Bornier ; 

In The Marriage of William Ashe we have Mme 
d'Estrees. 

Something of the depth of Mrs. Ward's knowledge 
of the French language may be gathered from her 
wonderfully faithful translation of Amiel ; and 
from certain trivial, but none the less interesting, 
indications in the text we see how firmly it has 
become implanted in her very being, for she un- 
consciously uses French forms of speech. Without 
referring to her constant use of French words and 
phrases — that is not half so convincing as the fact 
that from time to time in writing English she un- 
wittingly uses the French idiom. Thus in Sir 
George Tressady — speaking of a report that Lord 
Ancoats would marry — she says : "Was it likely 
that he would settle himself so soon ? " The 
standard English is surely settle down ; settle himself 
is obviously se ranger rendered in English. 

Yet another mark of French influence is the 
frequency with which she uses French words and 

74 



HER LITERARY WORK 

phrases. This is very strongly evident in The 
History of David Grieve, where scarcely a page 
appears without such use of French, but as the 
story is laid partly in France this is to some extent 
accounted for. 

But the feature is nearly as strong in Robert 
Elsmere, and in Miss Bretkerton it is even stronger. 
Taking the latter romance and running rapidly 
^Ihrough it page by page we cull the following : — 
Je ne connais en heaute, finesse, melange du meillenr 
ton, salon, mauvaise honte, au natiirel, raison d'etre, 
aide-de-camp, role, debutante, parti, au serieiix, 
finesse, abandon, matinee, bien-etre, pis-aller, 
engouement, en route, fldner, tisane, dejeuner, 
reputation surfaite, biases, elan, au revoir, coup, 
camaraderie, gamins, salon, role, — and Miss 
Bretkerton, it must be remembered, is only about 
one-third the length of Robert Elsmere and of the 
majority of Mrs. Ward's novels. 

It would be unfair to the author if one did not 
include in this general survey of her work some 
allusion to her remarkable power of describing 
scenery. This she does with a felicity of phrase 
and depth of colouring that make some of the 
passages the equal of anything of the kind in our 
language. Take a few specimens from Robert 
Elsmere: —  

' ' The weather was growing darker and stormier ; 
the wind shook the house in gusts ; and the 
farther shoulder of High Fell, seen in distorted 
outline through the casemented window, was almost 

75 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

hidden by the traihng rain-clouds. The mournful 
western light coming from behind the house struck 
the river here ana there ; almost everything else 
was grey and dark. A mountain ash, just outside 
the window, brushed the panes every now and 
then ; and in the silence every surrounding sound 
— the rare movements in the next room, the voices 
of quarrelling children round the door of a neigh- 
bouring house, the far-off barking of dogs — made 
itself distinctly audible."— P. 141. 

" A great stretch of dimpled land it was, falling 
softly towards the south and west, bounded by a 
shining twisted river, and commanding from all 
its highest points a heathery world of distance, 
now turned a stormy purple under the drooping 
fringes of the rain-clouds." — P. 190. 

" The rich Normandy country lay all around 
them — the corn fields, the hedgeless tracts of 
white-flowered lucerne or crimson clover, dotted 
by the orchard trees which make one vast garden 
of the land as one sees it from a height. On the 
fringe of the cliff, where the soil became too thin 
and barren even for French cultivation, there was 
a wild belt, half heather, half tangled grass, and 
flower growth, which the English pair loved for 
their own special reasons. Bathed in light, 
cooled by the evening wind, the patches of heather 
glowing, the tall grasses swaying in the breeze, 
there were moments when its wide, careless, dusty 
beauty reminded them poignantly, and yet most 
sweetly, of the home of their first unclouded 

76 



HER LITERARY WORK 

happiness, of the Surrey commons and wilder- 
nesses." — P. 534. 

And from Marcella : — 

" After a very wet September, the October days 
were now following each other in a settled and 
sunny peace. The great woods of the Chilterns, 
just yellowing towards that full golden moment — 
short, like all perfection — which only beeches 
know, rolled down the hillslopes to the plain, 
their curving lines cut here and there by straight 
fir stems, drawn clear and dark on the pale 
background of sky and lowland. In the park, 
immediately below the window, groups of wild 
cherry and of a slender-leaved maple made spots 
of ' flame and amethyst ' on the smooth falling 
lawns ; the deer wandered and fed, and the 
squirrels were playing and feasting among the 
beech nuts." — P. 518. 

And, again, from Sir George Tressady : — 

" George slowly mounted his own hill. The 
chequered April day was declining, and the 
dipping sun was flooding the western plain with 
quiet light. Rooks were circling round the hill, 
filling the air with long-drawn sound. A cuckoo 
was calling on a tree near at hand, and the evening 
was charged with spring scents — scents of leaf and 
grass, of earth and rain. Below, in an oak-copse 
across the road, a stream rushed ; and from a 
distance came the familiar rattle and thud of the 
pits."— P. 179. 

But it is when she finds herself high up in the 

77 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

" Rockies," with the glorious Canadian landscape 
at her feet, that our author is able to do full 
justice to her art. 

" In front of her rose a wall of glacier sheer 
out of the water and thousands of feet above the 
lake, into the clear brilliance of the sky. On 
either side of its dazzling whiteness, mountains 
of rose-coloured rock, fledged with pine, fell 
steeply to the water's edge, enclosing and holding 
up the glacier ; and vast rock pinnacles of a paler 
rose, melting into gold, broke, here and there, the 
gleaming splendour of the ice. The sun, just 
topping the great basin, kindled the ice surfaces, 
and all the glistening pinks and yellows, the pale 
purples and blood crimsons of the rocks, to flame 
and splendour ; while shadows of coolest azure 
still held the hollows and caves of the glacier. 
Deep in the motionless lake, the shining snows 
repeated themselves, so also the rose-red rocks, 
the blue shadows, the dark buttressing crags 
with their pines. Height beyond height, glory 
beyond glory, — from the reality above, the eye 
descended to its lovelier image below, which lay 
there, enchanted and insubstantial. Nature's 
dream of itself." ^ 

One of the most noteworthy characteristics of 
Mrs. Ward's work is her liking for strong personal- 
ities. Her heroines are generally women who 

^Canadian Born (London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1910), 
p. 126. 

78 



HER LITERARY WORK 

have been brought up in a somewhat unorthodox, 
pecuhar, or irregular manner, and in circumstances 
that would tend to foster and accentuate the 
individuality. 

Thus Laura Fountain (in Helheck) is an only 
child, whose mother dies in childbirth. Hence 
she comes to an unusual extent under the influence 
of her father, a scholar and an agnostic, — himself a 
'.' personality." 

•* Marcella's father had lost his social position 
owing to a breach of the law for which he had 
suffered a period of imprisonment. It thus 
happened that the child, in order that all knowledge 
of the disgrace should be kept from her, spent an 
unduly long period of her childhood in a boarding- 
school where she was allowed to develop her 
instincts without any affectionate interest to 
guide her and mollify them. 

Julie le Breton is a love-child, the daughter of an 
aristocratic mother and a father with an artistic 
temperament. Left an orphan at an early age, 
she goes to live with a former governess of hers, 
whose name she takes and with whom she lives 
in Belgium until she reaches maturity. 

Kitty Bristol, again, is the daughter of an 
adventuress of Irish extraction and a noble roue, 
the Earl of Blackwater. She also grows up 
without any maternal affection, for her mother 
commits her to the care of the White Sisters in 
Paris, and goes herself to live in Rome. 

In two of the cases the men who become the 

79 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

lovers or husbands of these women are themselves 
men of strong individuality. Helbeck of Bannis- 
dale, the lover of Laura Fountain, is an austere 
man, an ascetic, a rigid Catholic of an extreme 
type. Jacob Dalafield, the future Duke of 
Chudleigh whom Julie le Breton eventually 
marries, is gloomy and taciturn but with an 
unflinching sense of duty to himself and to his 
order, 

Aldous Raeburn, who, after many trials and 
tribulations becomes the husband of Marcella, 
is typical of the real aristocrat ; true to the 
traditions of his race, thorough master of himself, 
strongly imbued with a sense of duty to his 
country. 

In natures so antagonistic as these love becomes 
somewhat of a conflict. Here we find no blissful 
meeting of soul with soul, no destiny early realised 
and quickly fulfilled. In cases such as these the 
woman at first becomes restive, disturbed in 
mind, even rebellious. The man of this type 
makes, as a rule, no attempt to force his will 
upon the other, for he recognises that that other 
will is often stronger than his own. He is content 
to watch and wait, to be ever ready to protect 
the beloved against herself ; to guard her from 
the consequences of her own wilfulness ; to 
defend and safeguard her honour and her 
personality. 

Nothing, perhaps, shows this point more clearly 
than a paragraph wherein Mrs. Ward describes 

80 



HER LITERARY WORK 

with wonderful insight the birth of tlie love of 
Laura Fountain for Alan Helbeck : — 

" But far away in an upper room, Laura had 
cried herself to sleep— only to wake again and again 
with the tears flooding her cheeks. Was it merely 
a disagreeable and exciting scene she had gone 
through ? What was this new invasion of her 
life ? — this new presence to the inward eye of a 
form and look that at once drew her and repulsed 
her. A hundred alien forces were threatening 
and focusing upon her — and out from the very 
heart of them came the strange drawing — this 
magnetism — this troubling misery. To be im- 
prisoned in Bannisdale — under Mr. Helbeck's roof 
— for months and months longer — the thought 
was maddening to her. But when she imagined 
herself free to go — and far away once more from 
the old and melancholy house — among congenial 
friends and scenes — she was no happier than 
before. A little moan of anger and pain came, 
that she stifled against her pillow, calling passion- 
ately on the sleep that would, that must chase 
all these phantoms of fatigue and excitement — 
and give her back her old free self." ^ 

The problem that Mrs. Ward would appear to 
have set herself is to reconcile the idea of love, 
which is of itself a thing of sympathy and harmony, 
with that of individualism, a thing of egotism 
and independence. In these circumstances love 
is forced to sacrifice something of the latter two 
^ Helbeck of Bannisdale, -p-p. 199, 200. 
F 81 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

qualities in order to gain the benefit of the former 
two. This sacrifice is only accomplished after a 
struggle, and is only completely successful when 
the personality is capable of the higher emotions, 
devotion and duty. 

In all Mrs. Ward's works the problem of love 
is treated with much delicacy, and always from a 
lofty standpoint. Here are to be found none of 
the intrigues and adulteries which have defaced 
the writings of so many authors. 

Consider a moment the case of Marcella, the 
proud, the haughty, the headstrong daughter of a 
ruined father ; the heiress of a dilapidated estate, 
and the bearer of a tarnished name. It is not 
love that first draws her to Aldous Raeburn ; 
this she frankly admits to herself : — 

" What was stirring in her was really a passionate 
ambition — ambition to be the queen and arbitress 
of human lives — to be believed by her friends, 
to make a mark for herself among women, and 
to make it in the most romantic yet natural 
way, without what had always seemed to her 
the sordid and unpleasant drudgeries of the plat- 
form, of a tiresome co-operation with, or sub- 
ordination to, others who could not understand 
3'our ideas. 

Of course, as it happened, people would say 
that she had tried to capture Aldous Raeburn for 
his money and position's sake. Let them say it. 
People with base minds must think basely ; 
there was no help for it. Those whom she would 

82 



HER LITERARY WORK 

make her friends would know very well for what 
purpose she wanted money, power, and the support 
of such a man, and such a marriage. Her modern 
realism played with the thought quite freely ; 
her maidenliness, proud and pure as it was, being 
nowise ashamed. Oh for something to carry 
her DEEP into life ; into the heart of its widest 
and most splendid opportunities ! " ^ 

Destined as she was to love him in the end, to 
love him for his inflexible honour, his personal 
dignity, his obvious purity of purpose, she did 
not attain this end without passing through the 
refining fire of a lesser affection, of an affection, 
that is, for a man less worthy of her love. 

It is as if she had been unable to finally settle 
herself into the affections of a man of Raeburn's 
worth, therein to rest and to blossom forth into 
the full flower of maternity without first putting 
to the test her own passionate impulsiveness, 
and suffering the humility such a surrender was 
bound to entail. And so she first loves Wharton, 
just as Kitty Bristol first loves Cliffe and Julie 
le Breton Warkworth. 

Each of these women finds that she has bestowed 
her first affections on a man who proves to be 
unworthy of them, and is accordingly abased in 
her own estimation ; she realises that her judgment 
has been at fault, and that gives a salutary shock 
to her self-conceit ; henceforth she becomes a less 
self-centred and therefore a more lovable woman, 
1 Marcella, p. 74. 
83 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

and in becoming herself more lovable she acquires 
the capacity of appreciating the more amiable 
qualities in the man she was at first disposed to 
undervalue. This, then, is the lesson that Mrs. 
Ward would teach, and it is well in symmetry 
with her general message — the message of the 
sacrifice of self for the benefit of the whole. 

From this general survey of the chief character- 
istics of Mrs. Ward's work let us now pass to a 
more particular consideration of the story that 
made her famous, Robert Elsmere. 

The whole tragedy of this work is Religion. 
To the honour of the author — to her sense of 
justice and f airplay, be it said that she has painted 
Catherine (who stands for the old-fashioned 
narrow Evangelicalism) as one Madonna-like 
in character — a type distinctly English, kind, 
self-controlled, patient, assiduous in her wifely 
duties, large-hearted. On the other hand, the 
Squire and Langham, though drawn with a 
sympathetic, understanding pen, are pictured in 
such a way as to cause one to shrink from their 
dry, almost inhuman, philosophic attitude. 

But in the personality of Elsmere is struck 
the joyous note of hope and constructiveness that 
has been ringing quietly through the land since 
the dawn of the new century. Elsmere stands 
for a creed of no mere arid Unitarianism but for 
a Religion of Action — a blessed blend of all that 
is best in Christianity, with much that is good 
in the ideals of Marx and Spencer. 

84 



( 



HER LITERARY WORK 

Science, historic criticism, has stripped Chris- 
tianity of materiaHstic miracles and of dogma, 
but has left it only the more forceful for that 
human kindness, which is yet divine — and none 
the less so because it leaves no official place for the 
priest. 

Certainly Science itself has grown, in the last 
decade, steadily less materialistic. Fm-de-siede 
weariness, pessimism and despair have given 
way to hope. 

This note of Hope is very marked throughout 
the story, and even within a few weeks of his death 
we find Elsmere saying (the scene is laid on 
the shore at Petites Dalles, near Fecamp, whither 
Elsmere has gone to recuperate from the effects 
of overwork) : — 

" ' What will you gain ? A new sect ? ' 

" ' Possibly. But what we stand to gain is a new 
social bond,' was the flashing answer — ' a new 
compelling force in man and in society. Can you 
deny that the world wants it ? What are you 
economists and sociologists of the new type 
always pining for ? Why, for that diminution of 
the self in man which is to enable the individual 
to see the world's ends clearly, and to care not 
only for his own but for his neighbour's interest, 
which is to make the rich devote themselves to 
the poor, and the poor bear with the rich. If 
man only would, he could, you say, solve the 
problems which oppress him. It is man's will 
which is eternally defective, eternally inadequate. 

85 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

Well, the great religions of the world are the 
stimulants by which the power at the root of 
things has worked upon this sluggish instrument 
of human destiny. Without religion you cannot 
make the will equal to its tasks. Our present 
religion fails us ; we must, we will have another ! '" 

Some of the most remarkable pages in this novel 
are those in which Elsmere's doubts and fears 
are traced with infinite care and sympathy through 
all the agony of his gradual defeat in argument, 
with Langham, with Grey, and, most crushing 
of all, with Wendover, to the point where he 
finally realises that his Faith has been broken, 
and, almost a greater agony, he foresees that 
this must lead to a separation from the " soul 
nearest to his own," that is, his wife's. The 
emotional climax is told with unerring skill : — 

" In the stillness of the night there rose up 
weirdly before him a whole new mental picture- 
effacing, pushing out innumerable older images 
of thought. It was the image of a purely human 
Christ — a purely human, explicable, yet always 
wonderful Christianity. It broke his heart, but 
the spell of it was like some dream-country wherein 
we see all the familiar objects of life in new 
relations and perspectives. He gazed upon it 
fascinated, the wailing underneath checked a 
while by the strange beauty and order of the 
emerging spectacle. Only a little while ! Then 
with a groan Elsmere looked up, his eyes worn, 
his lips white and set. 

86 



HER LITERARY WORK 

" ' I must face it — I must face it through. 
God help me ! ' 

" A sHght sound overhead in Catherine's room 
sent a sudden spasm of feeUng through the young 
face. He threw himself down, hiding from his 
own foresight what was to be. 

" ' My darling, my darling ! But she shall 
know nothing of it — yet.' " ^ 

Thus after years of doubt and difficulty, Elsmere 
. comes to see the wisdom of the Persian sage, Sadi, 
who thousands of years ago wrote : — 

" Religion consists alone in the service of the 
people : it finds no place in the rosary, or prayer- 
rug, or tattered garment." ^ 

What wonderful irony that the difficulties 
produced by the most modern researches of 
Biblical exegesis should force one back to the 
oldest wisdom of the old, old world ! 

Elsmere, having resigned his living, joined with 
Murray Edwardes and founded a settlement in 
Goswell Road, London, for the service of the 
people, — this is fiction. Some fifteen years later, 
the author of Robert Elsmere, with the help of 
Passmore Edwards, founded a settlement in 
Tavistock Place, London, — this is fact. Is it 
a remarkable coincidence, or is it merely the 
natural and inevitable sequence, given the mental 

'^Robert Elsmere (London: T. Nelson & Sons, 1909), 
pp. 314, 315. 

2 The Biistan of Sadi (London : John Murray, " Wisdom 
of the East " series, 191 1), p. 14. 

87 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

and moral energy of the author ? We shall be 
safe, at any rate, in placing to the credit of Coinci- 
dence the similarity of the names borne by the 
coadjutors in each case. 

In relating at some length, and with almost 
painful detail, the death of Elsmere, it must be 
supposed that ]\Irs. Ward has wished to show 
us that such enthusiasts are foredoomed to fall 
martyrs to their own convictions, consumed by 
the fires of their o^\^l zeal. 

The story is no mere study of a character ; 
it is rather an ideal that the author would hold up 
to our eyes. The work of Elsmere was destined 
to live long after its founder had died ; it is even 
to be seen to this day ; its influence can be traced 
in many a movement. His effort is only a 
fraction of the immense effort of the race. That, 
doubtless, is the precise meaning of the work — 
it is the great question of religious progress in 
England that IMrs. Ward has treated herein under 
the cloak of fiction. The ideal which Elsmere 
created and lived in his own life is the ideal 
which she would wish for her country and her 
race. 

This particular consideration has been given 
to Robert Elsmere because it would appear to be 
no ephemeral work, but, like the Lorna Doone of 
Blackmore, or the John Inglesant of Shorthouse, a 
national classic, destined to retain for all time a 
permanent place in the literature of our language. 
And this is not primarily because of its intrinsic 

88 



HER SOCIAL WORK 

merit, but rather on account of its brilliant portrait- 
ure of a definite and rather poignant phase or 
epoch in the history of the nation's mental 
development. In it Mrs. Ward has caught up 
the many vapour-like, molten sentiments and 
emotions of our people as in a crucible, and from 
it has given forth something that rings clear and 
true, with hope and promise of fulfilment in the 
future. 



HER SOCIAL WORK — THE INFLUENCE ON ENGLAND 

If in Mrs. Ward's literary work the influence 
of France is very marked, the influence of Eng- 
land is just as strongly marked in her social 
work. 

In France the business of social amelioration 
is conducted either by the Church or by the 
State — the only exception of which we are cog- 
nisant being an association for giving assistance 
in maternity. 

In England, on the contrary, the State, having 
provided for the destitute (workhouses), has 
left everything else to be done by individual 
phflanthropists [e.g. Passmore Edwards, Toynbee, 
Barnardo, Carnegie), or by Societies [e.g. the 
Central (Unemployed) Board, the Church Army, 
the Salvation Army, the Charity Association, 
the Charity Organisation Society, etc.). 

To give names of all the charities of this 

89 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

country would require many pages : let it suffice 
to quote some official figures : ^ — 

Number Income 

of Insti- Denomination of Charity. for 1Q07 
tutions. 

803 Hospitals. . . '. . ;(3.924.670 

206 Dispensaries .... 212,394 

238 Convalescent Homes . . 330.4I7 

163 Missions 3.513-946 

517 Orphanages, Homes, and Chari- 
ties 3,611,172 

74 Institutions for the Blind . 267,228 
29 Institutionsfor Deaf and Dumb 108,115 
41 Institutions for Chronic and In- 
curable Cases . . . . 191. 142 

2071 ;^i2,J59,o84 

In the year 1907 there were 357 Institutions and 
.Societies of which no particulars were available. 

From the same source we gather (i) that each 
inhabitant of these islands only contributes 
(statisticaUy and theoretically, of course) 2s. gd. 
per annum — or •634d. per week to the amelio- 
ration of the lot of his less fortunate fellows, 
(2) That in the year 1910 there were 230,542 in 
the workhouses, i.e. in a state of absolute destitu- 
tion. Fact (2) is evidence that the voluntary 
system, admirable though it be in many ways, 
is still inadequate ; and fact (i) that the individual 
is hardly doing his duty,— in other words, the 
charitable alone are doing what ought to be done 
by all. 

1 Burdett's Hospitals and Chanties, 1910. 
90 



HER SOCIAL WORK 

Mrs. Ward rightly looks to the State in these 
matters, she. aims at the awakening of the State 
conscience — hence the earlier part of her social 
work is the work of propaganda. For this pur- 
pose she wrote Marcella and Sir Georsie Tressady, 
while Robert Elsmere, though primarily a protest 
against the cramping effects of a too liberal and 
dogmatic religion, also lends its powerful aid in 
the great campaign against insanitation, defective 
housing, and the evils of unrestricted destitution. 

An endeavour is herein made to show that the 
intense human sympathy which pervades these 
romances touched the hearts of the tens of 
thousands who read them, and so awoke in the 
national conscience that social instinct which had 
too long lain smothered under the storm-clouds 
of theological and religious controversy. 

Should it occur to any one to ask the question, 
" Does England undoubtedly possess the instinct 
of Social Reform .? " we have only to refer back 
to the statements made with regard to English 
charities in order to prove a national, though 
perhaps a muddle-headed, desire to relieve the 
suffering. Indeed our sympathy with the 
afflicted is not confined to these islands— its un- 
bounded enthusiasm is universal, and has some- 
times got us into trouble with other nations. 
Witness our interference in the case of the Balkan 
atrocities and in Armenia. But the sentiment had 
been allowed to get too expansive, it had to be con- 
centrated and organised, and focused nearer home. 

91 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

In Marcella, Mrs. Ward pointed out, in a manner 
that was much more effective than any poHtical 
pamphlet, the cruelty of our Game Laws, and showed 
what an amount of unnecessary suffering they 
cause. There is no piece of writing in any of the 
author's books stronger than her description of 
the grief and devastation of the Hurd family — 
victims of these laws. 

Jim Hurd, the husband, has killed — perhaps 
accidentally — a keeper, in one of his night poach- 
ing affrays, and Minta, his wife, is distractedly 
awaiting, fearing, the sentence of death. The first 
reference is to Marcella Boyce : — 

" Now, as she walked along, wrapped in her 
plaid cape, her thought was one long tumultuous 
succession of painful or passionate images, inter- 
rupted none the less at times by those curious 
self-observing pauses of which she had always been 
capable. She had been sitting for hours beside 
Mrs. Hurd, with little Willie upon her knee. The 
mother, always anaemic and consumptive, was 
by now prostrate, the prey of a long-drawn agony 
peopled by visions of Jim alone and in prison 
— Jim on the scaffold with the white cap over 
his eyes — Jim in the prison coffin— which would 
rouse her shrieking from dreams which were the 
rending asunder of soul and body. Minta Hurd's 
love for the unhappy being who had brought her 
to this pass had been infinitely maternal. There 
had been a boundless pity in it, and the secret 
pride of a soul, which, humble and modest towards 

92 



HER SOCIAL WORK 

all the rest of the world, yet knew itself to be the 
breath and sustenance, the indispensable aid of 
one other soul in the universe, and glorified accord- 
ingly. To be cut off now from all ministration, 
all comforting — to have to lie there like a log, 
imagining the moment when the neighbours should 
come in and say, ' It is all over— they have broken 
his neck — and buried him ' — it was a doom beyond 
all even that her timid pessimist heart had ever 
dreamed. She had already seen him twice in 
prison, and she knew that she would see him again. 
She was to go on Monday, Miss Boyce said, before 
the trial began, and after, if they brought him in 
guilty, they would let her say good-bye. She 
was always thirsting to see him. But when she 
went, the prison surroundings paralysed her. 
Both she and Hurd felt themselves caught in the 
wheels of a great, relentless machine, of which 
the workings filled them with a voiceless terror. 
He talked to her spasmodically of the most in- 
congruous things — breaking out sometimes with 
a glittering eye into a string of instances bearing 
on Westall's bullying and tyrannous ways. He 
told her to return the books Miss Boyce had lent 
him ; but when asked if he would like to see Marcella 
he shrank and said no. Mr. Wharton was * doin' 
capital ' for him ; but she wasn't to count on his 
getting off. And he didn't know that he wanted 
to neither. Once she took Willie to see him. 
The child nearly died of the journey ; and the father, 
' though any one can see, miss, he's just sick for 

93 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

'im,' would not hear of his coming again. Some- 
times he would hardly kiss her at parting ; he 
sat on his chair, with his great head dropped for- 
ward over his red hands, lost in a kind of animal 
lethargy. Westall's name always roused him. 
Hate still survived. But it made her life faint 
within her to talk of the murdered man — wherein 
she showed her lack of the usual peasant's realism 
and curiosity in the presence of facts of blood 
and violence. When she was told it was time for 
her to go, and the heavy door was locked behind 
her, the poor creature, terrified at the warder and 
the bare prison silences, would hurry away as 
though the heavy hand of this awful Justice were 
laid upon her too, torn by the thought of him she 
left behind, and by the remembrance that he had 
only kissed her once, and yet impelled by mere 
physical instinct towards the relief of Ann Mullin's 
rough face waiting for her — of the outer air and 
the free heaven." ^ 

Could anjrthing be finer ? Note the poignant 
touches of the master hand, " infinitely maternal," 
" the secret pride of a soul," " incongruous 
things," " a kind of animal lethargy," " terrified 
... at the bare prison silences," " he had only 
kissed her once." Is it not clear that herein is 
demonstrated a power of psychological insight 
equal to that of the great French writers Mrs. 
Ward so justly admires ? A person who can 

^ Marcella (London: T. Nelson & Sons, 1910), pp. 280, 
281. 

94 



HER SOCIAL WORK 

write with such terrible conviction must needs 
have the social instinct strongly developed. 

Although the Game Laws have not been re- 
pealed, there now exists a general understanding 
that they shall be much less rigorously enforced, 
and trouble would certainly await any Justice 
of the Peace who should go outside this under- 
standing and act vindictively. 
^ In other directions Mrs. Ward's campaign — 
for as such we must regard it — has been more 
definitely successful. In the matter of the 
housing of the poor, for instance, who can for- 
get her bitter cry — put into the mouth of 
Wharton ? 

" Why, he had seen dens — ay, on the best 
properties — not fit for the pigs that the farmers 
wouldn't let the labourers keep — where a man 
was bound to live the life of a beast, and his 
children after him." ^ 

Or— 

" Inside the hovel was miserable indeed. It 
belonged to that old and evil type which the 
efforts of the last twenty years have done so 
much all over England to sweep away ; four mud 
walls, enclosing an oblong space about eight yards 
long, divided into two unequal portions by a lath 
and plaster partition, with no upper storey, a 
thatched roof, now entirely out of repair, and 
letting in the rain in several places, and a paved 
floor little better than the earth itself, so large 

1 Marcella (London : T. Nelson & Sons, 1910), p. 200. 

95 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

and cavernous were the gaps between the 
stones." ^ 

Or again (Elsmere loquitur) : — 

" ' Ugh ! ' he said with a sort of groan, ' That 
bedroom ! Nothing gives one such a sense of 
the toughness of human hfe as to see a child 
recovering, actually recovering, in such a pesti- 
lential den ! Father, mother, grown-up son, girl of 
thirteen, and grandchild, all huddled in a space just 
fourteen feet square. Langham ! ' and he turned 
passionately on his companion, ' what defence 
can be found for a man who lives in a place like 
Murewell Hall, and can take money from human 
beings for the use of a sty like that ? ' " 2 

With that poignant grief, mingled doubtless 
with a certain righteous indignation, must the 
writer of these words have marked the failure of 
the Report of the Royal Commission on Housing 
to stir up any feeling in the country. 

Yet it was a strong Commission, representative 
of many of the best elements in the nation. That 
Prince of Wales, who later became King Edward 
VII., was a member and an assiduous attendant. 
Sir Charles Dilke was chairman, and among the 
most regular frequenters of the sittings were 
Cardinal Manning, the Marquis of Salisbury, 
Earl Brownlow, Earl Carrington, Sir Richard 
Cross, the Bishop of Bedford, and Mr. Goschen. 
The evidence produced, moreover, was startling, 

1 Robert Elsmere (London : T. Nelson & Sons, 19 10), 
p. 201. ^ Ibid. p. 320. 

96 



HER SOCIAL WORK 

even alarming one would have thought. For 
instance, Lord Shaftesbury stated ^ that he had 
himself visited houses inhabited by women and 
children, where there were open cesspools not a 
foot below the boarding of the rooms. He had also 
seen the once famous Bermondsey Island where 
houses were built upon piles in a swamp, the only 
supply of water for all purposes being that over 
which the people were living, in which was de- 
posited all the filth of the place. 

Later, speaking of the wretchedness of these 
classes, Lord Shaftesbury's evidence is so remark- 
able that the Commissioners quote it in their Report 
verbatim. Witness the following sentences : — 

" I remember that the Rector of Regent Street, 
Gordon Square, told me that in the whole of his 
district he did not believe there was a single 
family that had been there more than three months 
— they were always on the move. Look what 
happens. They go into these tenement houses ; 
they remain there a couple of months or three 
months ; they go out again, and are succeeded 
by another family ; they leave all their filth, 
nothing is cleared away. The other family come 
in, stay three months, and deposit their filth 
and off they go. It is perfectly impossible for 
these poor people, with the best intentions, to 
keep their houses clean. Their hearts are broken, 

' 1 Report of Royal Commission on the Housing of the 
Working Classes. Parliamentary Papers, 1884-1885, vol. 
XXX. p.Q. 

G 97 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

and they have not the means of doing it. They 
do not know how soon they will have to go ; they 
are merely wanderers on the face of the earth. 
That migratory class is the most difficult one we 
have to deal with." ^ 

The evidence as to overcrowding in London was 
nauseating : — 

" A smah house in Allen Street was occupied by 
thirty-eight persons, seven of whom lived in one 
room. In Northampton Street there was a case 
of nine persons in one room. In Summers Court, 
Holborn, there were two families in a room 12 
feet by 8 feet." 2 

Nor were matters any better in the country. 
" Mr. Samuel Pike gave evidence as to Dorset. 
There was a case of eleven persons, two parents 
and nine children, including a boy of nineteen and 
a girl of fifteen, occupying two small rooms. 
Similar evidence was given from the neighbouring 
county of Somerset." ^ 

One would have thought that the bringing to 
light of such a state of things would have roused 
England, but the fact is that the British people 
do not read Parliamentary Reports, and little 
or nothing was done to remedy the evil. Govern- 
ments are not prone to act unless impelled thereto 
by either the expressed will of the nation, or the 
force of vested interests. And in this case the 
force of vested interests lay in the hands of property 

1 Parliamentary Papers, 1884-1885, vol. xxx. p. 15. 

2 Ibid. p. 7. » Ibid. p. q. 

98 



HER SOCIAL WORK 

owners, who were not anxious to be made to put 
their houses in order. 

Three years passed and then (in 1888) Robert 
Elsmere appeared. Something has ah'eady been 
said about the storm of rehgious controversy it 
raised, but the intense pathos of the account of 
Elsmere's experiences among the poor of Murewell 
had also its effect. People professing all kinds 
^f religious creeds read the book, and many who 
were left unmoved by the theological doubts and 
difficulties raised, were infinitely stirred by the 
social problems brought to light. These people, 
largely of the middle classes, brought strong in- 
fluence to bear on the Local Authorities, Town and 
Parish Councils. And this to some purpose, for 
during the year igoi the following towns submitted 
to the Local Government Board schemes for the 
better housing of the working classes and received 
from them permission to demolish slums and rebuild 
according to the said schemes, namely : — Colne 
(42), Sheffield (59), Ilkeston (24), South Shields 
(160), Brighton (922), Barry (10), Manchester (1254), 
Bradford (8), Ashbourne (935), Bootle (24), West 
Ham (240), Morley (44), Salford (60). The 
figures beside the name of each town give the 
number of persons for whom improved accommo- 
dation was found, making a total of 2884 for the 
year.i 

1 Appendix to Report from the Joint Select Committee 
on Housing of the Working Classes. Parliamentary 
Papers, 1902, vol. v. p. 138. 

99 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

So that within three years of the pubhcation 
of Robert Elsmere we find nearly three thousand 
people have benefited by local legislation. An 
excellent beginning, but only a beginning, and the 
fire thus kindled had to be fanned and fed. In 
1894 Marcella appeared, followed in 1896 by Sir 
George Tressady. And now the fire is steadily 
burning. From 1896 until this very year of grace 
1912 there has been a steady improvement. 
Several Housing and Town-Planning Bills have 
been passed through Parliament, Garden Cities 
are springing up all around us, the municipalities 
of all the large towns now recognise it as one of 
their first duties to abolish slums, and to erect in 
their place airy and cleanly tenements at rentals 
within the capacity of even the poorest labourer. 

There are not wanting, moreover, signs of an 
awakening of the clergy to the fact that some- 
thing more than lip-service is required of them. 
The work of Canon Barnett at Toynbee Hall may 
be quoted in evidence. Here in the heart of one 
of the poorest districts of London he has gathered 
about him a community of enthusiastic young 
men, mostly from the Universities, pledged to 
devote a fixed portion of their leisure time to the 
personal investigation of the social conditions 
around them. 

This is the kind of spirit, no doubt, which first 
led Mrs. Ward to take up social work in a definite 
form, by identifying herself with the Passmore 
Edwards Settlement ; — had she acted under 

100 



HER SOCIAL WORK 

French influence the tendency would have been 
rather to put pressure on the Government to do 
something. 

But social work there was to be done, and 
Mrs. Ward appears to have been convinced of its 
need almost from the first. Her two first great 
romances — the two earlier ones [Milly and Oily 
and Miss Brdherton) must be regarded as im- 
mature — are full of the breath of a great yearning 
for the betterment of the lot of the working 
classes. 

It is probably from the same great thinker- 
uncle that Mrs. Ward got her first ideas of that 
social reform which was destined later to play so 
great a part in her life, and to have so great an 
influence on the social conditions of her time. 
For very early in his work we find Arnold ex- 
claiming : — 

" We are all of us included in some religious 
organisation or other ; we all call ourselves, in 
the sublime and aspiring language of religion 
which I have before noticed, children of God. 
Children of God ; — it is an immense pretension ! — 
and how are we to justify it ? By the works 
which we do, and the words which we speak. And 
the work which we collective children of God do, 
our grand centre of life, our city which we have 
builded for us to dwell in, is London ! London, 
with its unutterable external hideousness, and 
with its internal canker of piiblice egestas, privatim 
opule?itia, to use the words which Sallust puts into 

lOI 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

Cato's mouth about Rome, — unequalled in the 
world ! " 1 

Here surely is to be found the germ which in 
after years bore such glorious fruit as the Passmore 
Edwards Settlement — that gem set in the midst 
of London's "unutterable hideousness " — that 
fine attempt to justify our " immense pretension " 
that we are indeed the children of God. 

Arnold's excessive culture is such that he must 
needs veil the thought of the internal hideous- 
ness beneath a Latin name, but his niece writing 
twenty years later is restrained by no such fas- 
tidiousness — plain Anglo-Saxon serves her purpose 
better. 

" Marcella's cheek flushed. 'The village water 
supply is a disgrace,' she said with low emphasis. 
' I never saw such a crew of unhealthy, wretched- 
looking children in my life as swarm about those 
cottages. We take the rent, and we ought to look 
after them. I believe you could be forced to do 
something, papa — if the Local Authority were of 
any use. '^ 

"'Talk of London, I never saw such sickly 
objects as there are in this village. Twelve 
shillings a week, and work about half the year ! 
Oh, they ought to hate us ! I try to make them,' 
cried Marcella, her eyes gleaming. ' They ought 
to hate all of us landowners, and the whole wicked 

^Culture and Anarchy (London: T. Nelson & Sons, 
1910), pp. 104, 105. 

2 Marcella (London : T. Nelson & Sons, 19 10), p. 20. 

102 



HER SOCIAL WORK 

system. It keeps them from the land which they 
ought to be sharing with us ; it makes one man 
master, instead of all men brothers. And who is 
fit to be master ? Which of us ? Everybody is 
so ready to take charge of other people's lives, 
and then look at the result.' " ^ 

And earlier in Robert Elsmere, we find the same 
ideas, the same enthusiasm for reform put into 
the words of the hero : — 

" An angry red mounted in Robert's cheek." 

" ' What isn't the matter with it ? The houses, 
which were built on a swamp originally, are falling 
into ruin ; the roofs, the drains, the accommoda- 
tion per head, are all about equally scandalous. 
The place is harried with illness ; since I came 
there has been both fever and diphtheria there. 
They are all crippled with rheumatism, but 
that they think nothing of ; the English labourer 
takes rheumatism as quite in the day's bargain ! 
And as to vice — the vice that comes of mere end- 
less persecuting opportunity — I can tell you one's 
ideas of personal responsibility get a good deal 
shaken up by a place like this ! " ^ 

Yet Arnold had at least once faced the facts and 
felt just a httle stirred, in his own cold, cultured 
way, by the spectacle of so much misery. 

" ' I remember,' he says, ' only the other day, 
a good man looking with me upon a multitude of 

1 Mrtj-ceWrt (London : T. Nelson & Son, 1910), p. 39. 
'^Robert Elsmere (London: T. Nelson & Sons, 1910), 
pp. 199, 200. 

103 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

children who were gathered before us in one of the 
most miserable regions in London, — children eaten 
up with disease, half-sized, half-fed, half-clothed, 
neglected by their parents, without health, with- 
out home, without hope, — said to me : " The one 
thing really needful is to teach these little ones 
to succour one another, if only with a cup of cold 
water ; but now, from one end of the country to 
the other, one hears nothing but the cry for 
knowledge, knowledge, knowledge ! '.' And yet 
surely, so long as these children are there in these 
festering masses, without health, without home, 
without hope, and so long as their multitude is 
perpetually swelling, charged with misery they 
must still be for themselves, charged with misery 
they must still be for us, whether they help one 
another with a cup of cold water or no ; and the 
knowledge how to prevent their accumulating is 
necessary, even to give their moral life and growth 
a fair chance ! ' " i 

But if Arnold sowed the seed, it was others who 
tended and fostered the young plant. Mrs. Ward 
was in her twenty-sixth year when Herbert 
Spencer published his Principles of Sociology. A 
brain so active as hers, so eager to acquire fresh 
knowledge, can hardly have failed to read and 
absorb the theories set forth so brilliantly therein. 
Spencer's tracing, with infinite pains, of the 
transition of social ethics from the homogeneous 

^ Culture and Anarchy (London : T. Nelson & Sons, 

i9io),pp. 353, 354. 

104 



HER SOCIAL WORK 

and simple, to the heterogeneous and composite, 
must have fascinated a mind ah^eady deeply im- 
pressed with the work of Rousseau and Renan. 

These had, years before, done their work in 
stirring the sympathies of their young devotee, 
and now, with the pressure of the duties of marriage 
and maternity somewhat relaxed, we find her eager 
energies striving in all directions to realise the 
ideals imbibed in youth, and preached in maturity. 

We see her, Marcella-like, speaking at a meeting 
of the Women's Local Government Society and 
we hear her sayiiig that " one of the most crying 
needs of England to-day is a larger supply of 
women on local governing bodies." And why ? 
Because such bodies had to deal with all that grows 
most naturally out of household life and therefore 
concerns women as well as men — the provision 
of decent houses and decent sanitation. They had 
to endeavour, she said, by means of health visitors 
and sanitary inspectors, to help the people ; to 
guard against the neglect of landlords and the 
carelessness of tenants. She urged that a fixed 
number of places should be reserved for women 
on lown and Borough Councils. 

One seems to hear the echo of Marcella's cry : — 

" The village water supply is a disgrace. I be- 
lieve you could be forced to do something, papa, 
• — if the Local Authority were of any use." ^ 

But her most important social work has been 
in connection with the Passmore Edwards Settle- 
1 Marcella (London : T. Nelson & Sons, 19 lo), p. 20. 

105 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

ment — which might well be called the Humphry 
Ward Settlement, for if Mr. Passmore Edwards 
found the money it was Mrs. Ward who supplied 
the ideas. Or, indeed, it might fittingly be called 
the Robert Elsmere Settlement, for the whole 
scheme was outlined in that great romance :— 

" ' Look here ! ' (Elsmere loquitur). And sitting 
down again on a sandhill overgrown with wild 
grasses and mats of sea-thistle, the poor pale 
reformer began to draw out the details of his 
scheme on its material side. Three floors of 
rooms brightly furnished, well lit and warmed ; 
a large hall for the Sunday lectures, concerts, 
entertainments, and story-telling ; rooms for 
the Bo3"s' Club ; two rooms for women and girls, 
reached by a separate entrance ; a Ubrary and 
reading-room open to both sexes, well stored with 
books, and made beautiful by pictures ; three or 
four smaller rooms to ser\'e as committee rooms 
and for the purpose of the Naturalist Club, which 
had been started in May on the Murewell plan ; 
and, if possible, a g\-mnasium." ^ 

The personahty of the man who made it possible 
for Mrs. Ward to carry out one of her dearest 
ambitions is not without significance. James 
Passmore Edwards was bom in 1823 and was the 
son of a carpenter. In his autobiography, A Few 
Footprints, speaking of the house he lived in, he 
says : — 

^ Robert Elsmere (London : T. Nelson & Sons, 1910), p. 

548. 

106 



HER SOCIAL WORK 

" Two bedrooms at the back of the house had no 
direct window hght, but only borrowed Hght from 
a small window between the two rooms, over the 
stairs. I mention this circumstance to recall the 
fact that during the early part of the last century 
almost everything consumed by the people was 
taxed, including the wood, glass, and other 
materials used in the production of windows, 
and the windows as well. One of the results of this 
state of things was that I, with one of my brothers, 
slept thousands of times in a small bedroom into 
which the light of heaven never directly entered. 
As with us, so with hundreds of thousands of 
others. The window tax alone assisted to enfeeble 
the British race. As with the window tax, so 
with hundreds of other taxes, including the tax 
on bread, which still more enfeebled the race, 
and which a partisan statesmanship would triumph- 
antly reimpose, and thereby endanger the power 
and prosperity of the country. I well remember 
some of the blighting effects of the Corn Laws, 
when large numbers of the industrious poor of 
Cornwall ate barley bread, and many had not 
enough of that. The repeal of the Corn Laws 
and the introduction of a Free Trade era soon 
broadened and brightened national prospects." ^ 

The iron had evidently entered his soul, and we 
can well imagine the zest and enthusiasm with 
which he would plunge into all Mrs. Ward's plans 
for betterment. 

1 A Few Footprints (London : Watts & Co., 1906), p. 4. 

107 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

He had a troubled life, working now in a lawyer's 
office, now as a propagandist, now as a journalist, 
until he was about thirty-two years of age, when 
success began to come to him as manager and pro- 
prietor of the Mechanic s Magazine and the 
Building News. It was not, however, until twenty 
years later when he bought the Echo that, he 
began to amass his fortune. 

Three propagandist pamphlets issued by him 
made some stir at the time and serve to indicate 
the trend of his mentality, namely : Intellectual 
Tollbars (against " taxes on knowledge," i.e. on 
paper, on advertisements, on newspapers), The 
Triple Curse (against opium), and The War : A 
Blunder and a Crime (against the Crimean War). 
In his autobiography Mr. Passmore Edwards 
claims that history has proved him to have been 
right, for the tollbars have all been removed, the 
opium traffic has been crippled, and will soon 
have ceased, and, with regard to the War, Lord 
Salisbury said some years afterwards, in sporting 
phraseology, that we had "put our money on the 
wrong horse." ^ 

This remarkable man founded and endowed no 
less than 

26 Public Libraries. 
9 Hospitals. 
10 Homes (for children and for epileptics). 
3 Art Galleries. 

17 Other Institutions, which— like the Settle- 
1 A Few Footprints (London : Watts & Co., 1906), p. 38. 

108 



HER SOCIAL WORK 

ment in Tavistock Place — it would be 

difficult to classify. 
Perhaps the most remarkable thing about the 
man was his credo, which is given at length in A 
Few Footprints. It is well worth quoting : — 

I BELIEVE 

•»* " I believe, with Shakespeare, that a divinity is 
shaping our ends, rough hew them as we will, 
and that ' Heaven hath a hand in all ' ; with 
Schiller, that ' Justice is the keystone of the world's 
wide arch, sustaining and sustained by all ' ; 
with Elizabeth Barrett Browning, that ' no 
lily-muffled hum of summer bee but finds some 
coupling with the spinning stars ' ; with Herbert 
Spencer, that ' amid the mysteries which become 
the more mysterious the more they are considered, 
there will remain the one absolute certainty, 
that man is ever in presence of an Infinite and 
Eternal Energy from which all things proceed' ; 
with Mazzini, that ' the word Progress, unknown to 
antiquity, is destined henceforth to be a sacred 
word to Humanity, as in it is indicated an entire 
social, political, and religious transformation ' ; 
with Thomas Carlyle, ' that modern majesty 
consists in work. What a man can do is his 
greatest ornament, and he best consults his 
dignity by doing it ' ; with Victor Hugo, that 
' between the government that does evil and the 
people who accept it there is a certain solidarity ' ; 

109 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

with Frederic Harrison, that ' man's morahty 
towards the lower animals is a vital end and, 
indeed, a fundamental part of his morality to- 
wards his fellow-men ' ; with J. S. Mill, that ' we 
are entering upon an order of things in which justice 
will be the primary virtue, grounded on equal and 
sympathetic association, having its root no longer 
in the interest for self-protection, but in a culti- 
vated sympathy, no one being left out, but an 
equal measure being extended to all ' ; with 
Emerson, that ' there will be a new Church founded 
. . . that will have heaven and earth for its beams 
and rafters, and service for symbol and illustra- 
tion ' ; with Humboldt, that ' centuries are but 
seconds in the process of developing humanity ' ; 
with Longfellow, that ' affection never is wasted : 
if it enrich not the heart of another, its waters, 
returning back to the springs, shall find them full 
of refreshment ' ; with Spinoza, ' that the good 
human life lies not in the possession of things which 
for one man to possess is for the rest to lose, but 
rather in things which all can possess alike, and 
where one man's wealth promotes that of his 
neighbour ' ; with Ruskin, that ' that country is 
the richest which nourishes the greatest number 
of noble and happy human beings, and that man 
is the richest who, having perfected the functions 
of his own life, has also the widest healthful 
influence over the lives of others ' ; and with 
Tennyson, who ' doubts not through the ages one 
increasing purpose runs, and the thoughts of men 

no 



HER SOCIAL WORK 

are widened with the process of the suns ' ; and 
that ' the face of Death is turned towards the 
Sun of Life.' " ^ 

Mrs. Ward, it wih be observed, had for a co- 
adjutor a man as well read in philosophy and ethics 
as herself, and just as keen in the cause of social 
betterment ; and it was when laying the founda- 
tion-stone of one of the Passmore Edwards Free 
libraries (the one at Edmonton) that she made 
one of her most notable public pronouncements : — 

" When we have all passed away," she said, 
" generations of English people, in and around 
London, and in the remote towns of beautiful 
Cornwall, where Mr. Passmore Edwards has erected 
so many public libraries, will stih be entering 
the spiritual kingdom of knowledge and imagina- 
tion, so opened up and widened. Free libraries 
are the great opportunities of our day and the days 
to come. Perhaps the majority of those who come 
to them will come for pleasure and rest, and small 
blame to them, for our modern life is a hard and 
hurrying one. Perhaps, through the library, 
the commencement of which they had just wit- 
nessed, some Edmonton boy in the future, gifted 
beyond his fellows, will produce a poem, a novel, 
or a history which will stir new and fruitful ideas 
in the English mind. There is always that 
chance, which should never be neglected or dis- 
couraged, because certain clever people, who had 
all the advantages that the endowments of the 

1 A Few Footprints (London : Watts & Co., 1909), pp. 67, 68. 

Ill 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

English higher education can give, throw a httle 
mud at free Ubraries. Youth is the time for 
reading and study as it is the time for that public 
and complete joy realised in the world of litera- 
ture. Their whole after-life might be the richer 
for it, whether in their daily work or in business or 
in colonising — that great indispensable work of 
pushing forward and spreading the British Empire, 
which, unless we can infuse into a higher temper, 
a temper of justice and mercy, will more likely 
lead to national sorrow than national honour. 
We depend for the solution of our national diffi- 
culties, far more than most of us imagine, upon the 
humanising of English feeling and imagination, 
and it was in public libraries they will find the 
means of nurture and improvement." ^ 

Let us see now what the combined efforts of these 
two remarkable personalities have done towards the 
"humanising of English feeling and imagination." 

The buildings of the Settlement are situated 
in Tavistock Place on the edge of a closely-packed 
working-class neighbourhood, yet not out of touch 
with the business world, for Oxford Street is near ; 
nor apart from wealth, for the great squares, 
Tavistock, Bedford, Woburn, although they have 
lost some of their pristine glory still retain the 
dignity of considerable middle-class prosperity. 
The Settlement consists of a House, providing 
accommodation for a Warden and seventeen 

^A Few Footprints (London: Watts & Co., 1906), 
Appendix, p. 83. 

112 



HER SOCIAL WORK 

residents, and a hall capable of holding five 
hundred people. 

The building itself is simple, but full of charm 
and beauty — spacious, light, soft in colour and 
attractive in line. There are rooms for all pur- 
poses and of all shapes and sizes — class-rooms, 
lecture-rooms, dining-rooms, etc. The large 
kitchen is used for the teaching of practical 
domestic economy. In one room we find a crowd 
of children listening with rapt attention to one 
who is telling a story — it is the story of " Snow- 
white and Red Rose." In another room are 
bigger children being read to, from Nicholas 
Nicklehy. In a third room we find a Shakespeare 
class. The dining-room is furnished with collaps- 
ible tables so that it may be used for concerts and 
entertainments. 

In the evening, when the children have gone 
home to bed, the Settlement is used by men and 
women. 

Then there is a Newspaper Class — suggested by 
Lord Morley. This is generally led by one of the 
Residents (who, by the way, are invariably men 
and women of birth and education, devoting 
their lives to the service of their less fortunate 
fellows). The subjects for discussion are chosen 
from the topics of the day — aviation, strikes, etc. 
Majos are brought out, histories consulted, and 
the whole matter thrashed out in a highly in- 
telligent and educative manner. 

The refining influence of music has not been 
H 113 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

overlooked, and in the concert programmes are 
always to be found the names of some of the great 
masters — Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, 
Schubert, Grieg and Wagner. 

Mr. John Morley (now Lord Morley) — author 
of the Life of Gladstone and of works on Rousseau, 
Voltaire and the Encyclopaedists — at the ceremony 
of the opening of the Settlement, paid a just and 
well-deserved tribute to " that lady of so many 
gifts who must always be regarded as the Foundress 
of this Settlement — who, by the majestic wand 
of fiction, has raised from the ground a veritable 
palace, and has taught men and women, whose 
hearts may be glowing for personal service in 
social work, that in London they would find the 
nearest and the strongest claim." 

Mrs. Humphry Ward, in acknowledging this 
tribute, said of Lord Morley that he represented 
" better than any living Englishman that union 
of familiarity with letters and familiarity with 
affairs (Lord Morley has held in his day many 
offices under Government) which would lead a 
man to sympathise with an institution whose main 
object is to bring books and the finer pleasures 
into the crowded life of London and its working 
world." From these words we shall be prepared 
to find that the motto of the Settlement is : — 

" Man needs knowledge, not only for the sake of 
livelihood, but for the sake of life." 
— doubtless Mrs. Ward's own device. 



114 



CHAPTER IV 

I 

RELIGION 

The term religion, it must be remarked, is popu- 
larly applied, as well to those " outward and 
visible signs " to which some creeds attach so 
great importance, as to that " inward and spiritual 
grace " which all creeds alike, and even those of no 
creed, recognise as something above and beyond 
our everyday life, with its often sordid aims and 
selfish considerations ; yet capable withal of 
being so subtly blended with that life as to produce 
a type of personality that comes somewhere near 
to perfection. 

Religion viewed from the purely human side 
might be defined as " man's supreme interest " ; 
whoever has an absorbing interest may be said 
to have a religion. We often hear persons spoken 
of as " religiously " devoted to some object, 
" religiously " faithful to some cause, some 
ideal, some affection. There are those who have 
memories that are to them a " religion " — states- 
men to whom the service of their country has 
been a " religion," reformers who give their 

115 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

lives and fortunes in " religious " devotion to the 
service of some mission. Those who care for no 
one thing more than another, who have no en- 
thusiasm, who are listless and cannot be conceived 
as rising to any height of self-devotion — these are 
properly the " irreligious " people of the world. 

This broader theory, however, is not one that can 
safely be adopted in dealing with the matters 
under review ; we must adhere to the general 
and popular definition. 

Now Mrs. Ward is under no delusion as to the 
actual state of life in London from a religious 
point of view. 

"Here," she says, "all that is most prosperous 
and intelligent among the working class holds 
itself aloof — broadly speaking — from all existing 
spiritual agencies, whether of Church or Dissent. 
Upon the genuine London artisan the Church has 
practically no hold whatever ; and Dissent has 
nothing like the hold which it has on similar 
material in the great towns of the North. To- 
wards religion in general the prevailing attitude 
is one of indifference tinged with hostility. ' Eight 
hundred thousand people in South London, of 
whom the enormous proportion belong to the 
working class, and among them, Church and 
Dissent nowhere — Christianity not in possession.' 
Such is the estimate of an Evangelical of our day ; 
and similar laments come from all parts of the 
capital. The Londoner is, on the whole, more 
conceited, more prejudiced, more given over to 

ii6 



RELIGION 

crude theorising, than his north-country brother, 
the mill-hand, whose mere position, as one of a 
homogeneous and tolerably constant body, subjects 
him to a continuous discipline of intercourse and 
discussion. Our popular religion, broadly speak- 
ing, means nothing to him. He is sharp enough 
to see through its contradictions and absurdities ; 
he has no dread of losing what he never valued ; 
hiis sense of antiquity, of history, is nil ; and 
his life supplies him with excitement enough 
without the stimulants of ' otherworldliness.' 
Religion has been, on the whole, irrationally pre- 
sented to him, and the result on his part has been 
an irrational breach with the whole moral and 
religious order of ideas." ^ 

This was written in 1887-88, but that it is equally 
true to-day we have the witness of no less an 
authority than his Grace the Bishop of London 
himself. 

Speaking at the Church Congress on Oct. 3, 191 1. 

"Why," he asked, "has the Church not more 
influence than it has upon the rising democracy 
to-day ? 

" Why has organised labour so little to say to 
organised Christianity as a whole ? 

" Thousands believed," he said, "that there was 
a possibility of equality of opportunity for all, that 
the grinding poverty to be seen in great cities was 
unnecessary, and should come to an end, and 

^ Robert Elsmcrc (London : T. Nelson & Sons, 1910J, 

PP- 453. 454- 

117 



t 

MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

they looked forward with hope to a day when each 
child should have a chance, and no one should be, 
to use a terrible phrase, ' damned into the world.' 
Thousands, in short, believed that literally a 
Kingdom of God. was at hand ; they were set on 
seeing the beginning of a heaven on earth. It 
was a modest enough Kingdom of God which 
they expected. They did not crave for large 
mansions or princely incomes, but for more time 
to think, and greater leisure from toil, and a living 
wage, and a help towards being independent in 
old age, instead of going to the workhouse, and 
co-operation as the ruling motive of life and work, 
instead of cut-throat competition, and peace 
among nations, instead of war. 

This was the beautiful dream which was at 
the bottom of the Labour movement in this 
country. He noticed with thankfulness that the 
Labour movement in this country was avowedly 
and definitely religious, as witness the addresses 
in Labour week by eleven Labour members of 
Parliament, and the participation of them, and 
others in Christian work. 

It went far to bear out the contention of 
Bishop Creighton, that England was still much 
the most religious nation in the world. Why did 
scarcely any of these men belong to the Church of 
England ? Why, in the recent strike, had the 
Church little influence ? Why did they not turn 
to the Church, which was founded two thousand 
years ago, to hold up their just ideal to the world ? 

ii8 



RELIGION 

Why were they not looking more than they 
were to the historic Church of Jesus Christ for 
sympathy, guidance and advice ? He beheved the 
first reason was that, consciously or unconsciously, 
the clergy were influenced still by class prejudice 
and that this spoilt the real sympathy which they 
wished to give. The second reason was that the 
toiling millions had no interest in the controversies 
of the two rival camps of High Church and Low 
Church. There was nothing wrong, in his opinion, 
with the Church or its sacraments, its ministry, 
or its ceremonial ; that fatal class prejudice and 
caste feeling must be laid aside and for ever." ^ 

During his residence in the East End the Bishop 

of London had special opportunities of studying 

the conditions under which the working classes 

live, and he is painfully impressed by the wide 

gulf that divides Labour from the Church of 

England. The Bishop's warm sympathy with 

the demand of the workers for a living wage and 

more leisure is what we should have expected 

from a man with his fervid zeal for social reform. 

He is not the only Bishop who is full of enthusiasm 

for humanity. At the present day the episcopate 

of the Church of England contains more Bishops 

who are genuinely sympathetic to the working 

classes than it ever contained before, yet the 

Church itself, frigid and aloof, is less touched 

with feeling for Labour than in the days of Charles 

Kingsley and Frederic Denison Maurice. The 

1 As reported in The Times, October 4, 191 1, 
119 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

Bishop of London thinks that the failure of the 
Church to influence the rising tide of democracy 
is due to class prejudice. No doubt this is the 
main reason. May it not also be due in some 
degree to the absorption of many of the clergy 
in barren ecclesiastical controversies for which the 
toiling masses do not disguise their contempt ? 
While sorrowing over the isolation of his own 
Church, Dr. Winnington Ingram takes comfort in the 
fact that in Great Britain the Labour movement 
is " avowedly religious." It would be more 
correct to put it in the negative, and say that the 
British Labour movement is not avowedly ir- 
religious. That is a characteristic that differenti- 
ates it from organised Labour on the Continent. 
Many British Labour leaders are lay preachers, 
associated with really democratic Churches like 
the Primitive Methodists. And even when they 
do not attend places of worship, the British work- 
ing classes are notably free from those anti- 
Christian prejudices that are so marked among 
the industrials in France and Germany. Our 
people have little love for clericalism, but they 
remain ait fond essentially religious. This fact 
makes their estrangement from the Churches the 
more surprising, and suggests that the fault is 
much more in the ministers of religion than in the 
working classes. 

What was true in 1887-88 is still true, then, 
in the main, yet Mrs. Ward might perhaps be 
willing to make some concessions in view of the 

120 



RELIGION 

activities of the Nonconformists of to-day. The 
Rev. Dr. Chfford, the Rev. F. B. Meyer, and 
the Rev. R. J. Campbell (the founder of the Liberal 
Social Movement), each, with his Church as centre, 
throws out a network of agencies of the Elsmere 
type, which have had a marked effect on the social 
and political life of the past decade. We say 
" political life " advisedly, for the Noncon- 
formist is nothing if he is not a politician. He it 
is, in fact, who has realised to some extent Mrs. 
Ward's ideal of practical Christianity, with this 
difference, perhaps, that he works for the better- 
ment of himself and his fellows by means of 
political pressure, whereas our author's heroes 
and heroines have given personal service to a greater 
extent. 

But religion, if it is to have a hand and a voice 
in the change, must be practical, and if we leave 
for a moment the consideration of the individual 
and "think imperially" rather than parochially 
we shall see that in order to be practical, religion 
must be political. 

Take, for instance, the question of Sabbath 
observance. That reasonable Sunday recreation 
has Mrs. Ward's sympathy may be safely deduced 
from the following excerpt : — 

" Langham was punctual, and Robert carried 
him off first to see the Sunday cricket, which was 
in full swing." ^ 

'^ Robert Elsincrt' (London: T. Nelson & Sons, 1910), 
p. 177. 

121 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

The author does not deign to discuss the matter ; 
she casually mentions it as being the most natural 
thing in the world ; and no doubt it would be so 
to a mind so free from all superstition and cant 
as Elsmere's. But think of the shock this sen- 
tence must have produced on an England which 
still permitted the Amendment Act and the Re- 
mission of Penalties Act to remain on the statute 
book as evidence of the vitality of those two 
earlier Acts of Charles ii. and George iii. ! — an 
England which only a few years later (1905) 
produced a large body of support for Lord Ave- 
bury's Bill to increase the penalties on Sunday 
trading. Happily there are not wanting signs 
of the decay of this particular superstition. The 
National Sunday League now holds twenty- 
eight concerts in the theatres and music-halls of 
Greater London every Sunday evening from 
October to May, and during the summer months 
runs countless excursions on Sunday to all parts of 
the kingdom. 

The prejudice against games played publicly, 
curiously enough, still holds, but many thousands 
of games of tennis are played in private gardens ; 
and on nearly all of the two thousand links in 
England golf is played on Sundays, though many 
Clubs disallow the employment of caddies on 
that day — doubtless on the ground that it might 
perchance be preventing boys or men from duly 
performing their religious exercises. 

Looking indoors, we also see great changes in 

122 



RELIGION 

London, but it must be noted that this movement 
has only in a modified degree spread to the pro- 
vinces. In London, all the great restaurants 
open in the evening from six o'clock till eleven 
o'clock ; hundreds of cinematograph shows are 
to be found packed with people seeking a little 
distraction after the toil and moil of the week. 

All this amounts almost to a revolution as com- 
pared with the mournful Sundays of 1887 when Mrs. 
Ward was writing Robert Elsmere, and we can well 
suppose that no one appreciates the change more 
than the author herself, but in order to accomplish 
the revolution political pressure and action has 
been ever necessary. 

****** 

A widespread tendency like the Modernist 
movement could hardly have escaped the notice 
of so keen a student of religion as Mrs. Ward, 
and she has recently published a romance, The 
Case of Richard Meynell, with the object of arrest- 
ing the attention of the public, and of directing it 
towards the drama of religious revolution which 
she believes to be actually proceeding to-day 
within the national Church. 

But it seems possible that she has somewhat 
underestimated the amount of indifference and 
apathy that have been slowly and surely creeping 
over the masses in the country with regard to 
things religious. The trend of modern scientific 
thought towards the psychological aspect of religion 
must always be of interest within the circles of 

123 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

intellectualism, but it is questionable whether the 
matters dealt with are not too advanced in point 
of time, to take hold of the populace. 

For the book is a forecast — a forecast of what 
may, and probably will, happen in England when 
the Modernists and the orthodox in the Estab- 
lished Church finally come to grips. Incidentally 
it is an attempt to show that the faith of the 
Modernist has its comfort for the death-bed and 
for the crises of this life, just as well as had the 
older interpretations of Christianity, — it looks, in 
fact, a decade perhaps, ahead of the times. 

In the person of the hero, we have Robert Els- 
mere rediviviis, in a new garb, ultra-modern in 
thought, and living in a theological milieu of to- 
morrow, rather than of to-day. The position of 
thought is similar, but with this difference — that 
instead of conceiving it to be his duty to leave 
the Church as Elsmere did, Meynell decides to 
remain in it : — 

" We have come to fighting," he repeated, 
" and fighting means blows. Moreover, the fight 
is beginning to be equal. Twenty years ago — 
in Elsmere' s time — a man who held his views or 
mine could only go. But the distribution of 
forces, the lie of the field, is now altogether changed. 
/ am not going till I am turned out ; and there 
will be others with me. The world wants a heresy 
trial, and it is going to get one this time." ^ 

^ The Case of Richard Meynell (London : Smith, Elder 
& Co., 191 1), p. 13. 

124 



RELIGION 

For in the interval between Elsmere's time and 
Meynell's, Mrs. Ward believes that the nation has 
come over to the views of the Higher Criticism, 
namely, that " miracles do not happen " (as 
Arnold said), and that the central figure of the 
Gospel narrative must be viewed solely in the 
light of history. 

If, therefore, the Church of England is to be and 
remain national in any sense, room must be found 
within its precincts for these Modernists.^ 

But our author herself has stated the case 
infinitely better than any words of ours could 
convey it. 

" There " — his (Meynell's) voice was low and 
rapid — " there is the goal ! a new happiness : — 

1 Dicey remarks apropos ; —  

" Clergymen, it is true, still subscribe to, and are 
supposed to be bound, in some very indefinite sense, 
by the doctrine of the Thirty-Nine -Articles. But the 
clergy of the Church of England in practice enjoy the right 
to express their opinions on all matters of religion and 
theology with nearly as much freedom as the laity. Not 
only upon Biblical history but upon doctrines which have 
often been supposed to be the fundamental doctrines of 
Christianity. Preachers whom every man respects 
may utter criticism wliich, in tlie days of Dr. Arnold, 
would hardly have been whispered by a minister of tlie 
Church of England to his most intimate friend, and 
which in i860 would have amazed, if not scandalised, the 
authors of Essays and Reviews, and might well have given 
rise to proceedings in the Ecclesiastical Courts." Law 
and Opiyiion in England (London : Macmillan & Co., 1905), 

p. 435- 

125 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

to be reached through a new comradeship — a 
freer and yet intenser fellowship. We want to 
say to our fellow- men — ' Cease from groping among 
ruins ! — from making life and faith depend upon 
whether Christ was born at Bethlehem or at 
Nazareth, whether he rose or did not rise, whether 
Luke or some one else wrote the Third Gospel, 
whether the Fourth Gospel is history or poetry. 
The life-giving force is here and noiv ! It is burn- 
ing in your life and mine — as it burnt in the life 
of Christ. Give all you have to the flame of it — 
let it consume the chaff and purify the gold. 
Take the cup of cold water to the thirsty, heal the 
sick, tend the dying, and feel it thrill within you — 
the ineffable, the immortal life ! Let the false 
miracle go ! — the true has grown out of it, up from 
it, as the flower from the sheath. Ah ! but then ' — • 
he drew himself up unconsciously ; his tone 
hardened — " we turn to the sons of tradition, 
and we say, ' We too must have our rights in what 
the past has built up, the past has bequeathed — 
as well as you ! Not for you alone, the institu- 
tions, the buildings, the arts, the traditions, 
that the Christ-hfe has so far fashioned for itself. 
They who made them are our fathers, no less than 
yours, — give us our share in them ! we claim it ! 
Give us our share in the Cathedrals and Churches 
of our country — our share in the beauty and 
majesty of our ancestral Christianity. The men 
who led the rebellion against Rome in the sixteenth 
century claimed the plant of English Catholicism. 

126 



RELIGION 

" We are our fathers' sons, and these things are 
o?/rs ! " they said, as they looked at SaHsbury 
and Winchester. We say the same — with a 
difference. Give us the rights and the citizenship 
that belong to us ! But do not imagine that we 
want to attack yours. In God's name, follow your 
own forms of faith, — but allow us ours also — within 
the common shelter of the common Church. 
We are children of the same God — followers of the 
same Master. Who made you judges and dividers 
over us ? You shall not drive us into the desert 
any more. A new movement of revolt has come — 
an hour of upheaval — and the men with it.' " ^ 

There is no Gladstone now to be astonished 
by a theological novel, to the point of reviewing it 
into fame, neither does Mrs. Ward's work any longer 
require such adventitious aid ; and moreover, the 
figure of the heretic in the pulpit has long since 
ceased to make even the man in the pew quiver. 

Theological hatred is, of course, not yet dead, 
but the Modernist Richard Meynell of the present 
day would meet with none of the wild beast fury 
that a clergyman of similar ideas would have had 
to contend with twenty or thirty years ago. And 
for that reason the drama of Richard Meynell is 
less engrossing than the drama of Robert Elsmere ; 
but, on the other hand, it has the trill of anticipa- 
tion which the earlier romance, of course, had not. 

In essentials, then, the two books have an 

1 The Case of Richard Meynell (London : Smith, Elder 
& Co., 1911), pp. 72, 7?>- 

127 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

identical aim ; they champion the cause of 
Modernism, which our author defines as : — 

" The attempt of the modern spirit, acting re- 
ligiously, to refashion Christianity, not outside, but 
inside the warm limits of the ancient churches." ^ 

In her view, Liberal Christianity bases its appeal 
on the gi'ounds that religion, like science, requires 
continual adjustment to the needs of each parti- 
cular epoch, and she finds that the conditions of 
thought have entirely changed since she wrote 
Robert Elsmere. Or as Meynell is made to say —  
speaking to Elsmere's daughter : — 

" Ah, if your father had but lived ! He died 
his noble death twenty years ago — think of the 
difference between then and now ! Then the 
Broad Church movement was at an end. All that 
seemed so hopeful, so full of new life in the 'seventies 
had apparently died down. Stanley, John 
Richard Green, Hugh Pearson were dead ; Jowett 
was an old man of seventy ; Liberalism within the 
Church hardly seemed to breathe ; the judgment 
in the Voysey case — as much a defiance of modern 
knowledge as any Papal Encyclical ! — though 
people had nearly forgotten it, had yet in truth 
brought the whole movement to a stand. All 
within the gates seemed lost. Your father went 
out into the wilderness, and there, amid everything 
that was poor and mean and new, he laid down his 
life. But we ! — we are no longer alone, or helpless. 

^ The Case of Richard Meynell (London : Smith, Elder 
& Co., 1911), p. 6q. 

128 



RELIGION 

The tide has come up to the stranded ship — the 
launching of it depends now only on the faithful- 
ness of those within it. " ^ 

The times that were then not ready are in Mrs. 
Ward's view now ripe for him. Yes, ripe for 
Elsmere perhaps, but are they ripe for Meynell ? 
It is doubtful. 

Briefly, the story is this : — Meynell is the Rector 
of' a large mining village in the Midlands. He 
embraces Modernism, and there is an attempt 
made to oust him from his living. He heads a 
great movement of revolt, and finds his justifica- 
tion in the astonishingly large number of clergy 
and their congregations who rally at once to his 
support. A successful action is brought against 
him in the Court of Arches ; but he has lit a 
flame throughout the land which will burn for 
many a long day, and the story leaves him with 
only the beginning of the fight completed. 

Into this drama of religious controversy Mrs. 
Ward has woven, with her usual skill, a story of 
secular interest. 

The Rector, who is no mere lay figure for the 
uttering of advanced opinions, but a very human 
and lovable personality, becomes involved in an 
ugly scandal. Honour forbids him to clear himself 
at the expense of another, and that other a woman ; 
and the false story, in the hands of an unscrupulous 
opponent, goes far towards wrecking the Cause — 
i.e. the cause of Modernism. 

^ The Case of Richard Meynell, p. 69. 
I 129 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

In this, the secular warp in the texture of the 
novel, there are four links with the Elsmere of 
1888 — namely, Catherine, Elsmere's widow ; Mary, 
his daughter ; Hugh Flaxman, who was of 
such great help to Elsmere in the founding of his 
Brotherhood ; and Rose, Flaxman's wife, Cather- 
ine's sister. 

Here our author has drawn a parallel between 
the days of the Reformation and the present time. 
Just as the Reformers seized what Mrs. Ward 
calls the " plant " — the cathedrals, churches, and 
revenues — of the Ancient Faith, so too have the 
Modernists a right to the use of the moulds in 
which the religion of England has always been 
cast : — 

" ' All that we ask' (says Meynell to his Bishop) 
' is that the Church should recognise existing 
facts — that organisation should shape itself to 
reality. In our eyes, Christendom is divided to- 
day — or is rapidly dividing itself — into two wholly 
new camps. The division between Catholic and 
Protestant is no longer the supreme division ; 
for the force that is rising affects both Protestant 
and Catholic equally. Each of the new divisions 
has a philosophy and a criticism of its own ; each 
of them has an immense hold on human life, 
though Modernism is only now slowly realising 
and putting out its power. Two camps ! — two 
systems of thought ! both of them. Christian 
thought. Yet one of them, one only, is in posses- 
sion — of the churches, the forms, the institutions ; 

130 



RELIGION 

the other is everywhere knocking at the gates. 
" Give us our portion ! " we say — " in Christ's 
name." But only our portion \ We do not dream 
of dispossessing the old — it is the last thing, even, 
that we desire. But for the sake of souls now 
wandering and desolate, we ask to live side by side 
with the old — in brotherly peace, in equal right — 
sharing what the past has bequeathed ! Yes, 
even the loaves and fishes ! — they ought to be 
justly divided out like the rest. But, above all, 
the powers, the opportunities, the trials, the 
labours of the Christian Church ! ' 'In other 
words, so far as the English Church is concerned, you 
propose to reduce us within our own borders to a 
peddling confusion of sects, held together by the 
mere physical link of our own buildings and our 
endowments ! ' said the Bishop, as he straightened 
himself in his chair." ^ 

An interesting feature of this last book, from 
the view-point stated herein, is that Mrs. Ward 
has now decided to recognise the fact that the 
Nonconformist exists, and has some power : — 

" ' Do you see who it was that protected Darwen 
from the roughs outside his church ? ' he said 
presently. 

" Brathay looked up. 

"'A party of Wesleyans ? — class-leaders? 
Yes, I saw. Oh ! Darwen has always been on 
excellent terms with the Dissenters ! ' 

" ' Meynell too,' said the professor. ' That of 
1 The Case of Richard Meynell, p. 104. 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

course is their game. Meynell has always gone 
for the inclusion of the Dissenters.' " ^ 

(Darwen is one of Mejaiell's adherents.) 

It must not be supposed for one moment (as has 
already been proclaimed in Chapter II.) that any 
particular sympathy with the Nonconformist is 
intended to be conveyed herein, but it has been 
felt all along that Mrs. Ward has almost ignored 
his existence, and that this omission constitutes a 
blemish in her work. 

But it has been impossible for any thinker to 
live in England through the past six years — to 
have passed through three general elections — 
without becoming vitally aware of the strength 
of modern Nonconformity, and Mrs. Ward is 
evidently no exception : — 

" The effect of the movement," she saj^s, " on 
the Dissenters — on that half " (here is an ad- 
mission of strength, at last !) " of religious England 
which stands outside the National Church, where 
' grace ' takes the place of authority and Bishops 
are held to be superfluities incompatible with the 
pure milk of the Word — was in many respects 
remarkable. The majority of the Wesleyan 
Methodists had thrown themselves strongly on 
to the side of the orthodox party in the Church ; 
but among the Congregationalists and Presby- 
terians there was visible a great ferment of opinion 
and a great cleavage of sympathy ; while among 
the Primitive Methodists, a body founded on the 

1 The Case of Richard Meynell, p. 173. 
132 



RELIGION 

straitest tenets of Bible worship, yet interwoven, 
none the less, with the working-class life of 
England and Wales, and bringing day by day the 
majesty and power of religion to bear upon the 
acts and consciences of plain, poor, struggling 
men, there was visible a strong and definite 
current of acquiescence in Modernist ideas ; which 
was inexplicable, till one came to know that 
among Meynell's friends at Upcote there were 
two or three Primitive local preachers who had 
caught fire from him, and were now active members 
of his Church Council, and ardent though perse- 
cuted missionaries to their own body. 

"Meanwhile the Unitarians — small and gallant 
band ! — were like persons standing on tiptoe 
before an opening glory. In their isolated and 
often mistaken struggle, they had felt them- 
selves for generations stricken with chill and 
barrenness ; their blood now began to feel the 
glow of new kinships, the passion of large horizons. 
So, along the banks of some slender and much- 
hindered stream, there come blown from the 
nearing sea prophetic scents and murmurs, and 
one may dream that the pent water knows at last 
the when and the whither of its life." ^ 

(This last remarkable paragraph would seem 
to lend colour to the report already referred to, 
to the effect that Mrs. Ward's sympathies, if not 
indeed her actual allegiance, are with the body of 
Nonconformists known as Unitarians.) 

^ The Case of Richard Meynell, p. 362. 



MES. HUMPHRY WARD 

If the Church is to be national, our author 
argues (and incidentally she gives us a note- 
worthy definition of the phrase " National Church " 
— " a nation, that is, in its spiritual aspect," 
p. 256) , it must be prepared to contain Meynell and 
his followers, no matter which of the sections 
of Christianity they belong to. Here from the 
controversial side lies the weakness of the book, 
for it contains only a half-truth. True it is that 
the tendencies of the age do not fit the ancient 
institutions, yet is it conceivable that the latter- 
day followers of Wesley (let us say) would ever 
band themselves together in support of a creed 
that emanated originally from the German school- 
men ? 

And further, Mrs. Ward has overlooked the 
fact that the Modernist movement of to-day is 
itself split into two factions, the one seeing the 
Founder of Christianity as a gradually deified 
man ; the other as a gradually humanised con- 
ception of divinity. ^Modern theology, in fact, 
is moving away from mediaeval history to the 
study of comparative religion and towards the 
investigation of the unknown powers of the 
human organism. The newest leaders of to-day 
are not Harnack or Loisy or Tyrrell, but rather 
Professor William James, M. Bergson, and Sir 
Oliver Lodge — students of psychology rather 
than of written documents. 

xAnd Mrs. Ward herself is not altogether un- 
conscious of this : — 

134 



RELIGION 

" ' You think ' (says Norham, the Home 
Secretary, to Meynell), ' you thmk you can take 
what you Hke of a great historical rehgion and 
leave the rest — that you can fall back on its pre- 
suppositions, and build it anew. But the pre- 
suppositions themselves are all crumbling ! 
"God!" "Soul," "free-will," "immortality," 
—even " human identity," — is there one of the 
old fundamental notions that still stands, un- 
challenged ? What are we in the eyes of modern 
psychology but a world of automata — dancing 
to stimuli from outside ? ' " i 

Touching, for a moment, on the rumour that 
Mrs. Ward is a member of the Unitarian body, it 
can only be said that it is doubtful whether she 
has in any way identified herself with this par- 
ticular creed. One imagines that a mind so 
thoroughly latitudinarian would hardly bear the 
bonds of any narrow dogma, and such creed as 
is to be found stated or implied throughout her 
work is eminently non-sectarian. 

One of Mrs. Ward's claims, in fact, on our 
enthusiasm is her remarkable freedom from 
bigotry. To her all sects and creeds are good if 
only they tend to the mental, moral, and physical 
betterment of their adherents. In dealing with 
the many religious formulae with which this 
country is infested, and however profoundly one 
may deplore their existence, there is after all only 
one standard of judgment that the true latitu- 
1 The Case of Richard Meynell, p. 25^^. 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

dinarian can apply equally to all ; and it is this : 
— Whenever a system of religion meets with a 
response from numbers of people, be they few 
or many, it is safe to assume that it offers some- 
thing which they either need or think they need. 
The wise man, the man in search of Truth for 
Truth's sake, will take care to distinguish care- 
fully between the mass of exaggeration with 
which the system may be overweighted, and look 
carefully to the root principle which distinguishes 
it from other systems. Whatever the modicum 
of truth in Christian Science, for example, how- 
ever marked its paradox, its very existence is at 
least a protest against that most atheistic of all 
conceptions of life, that conception which has 
been fed by the Churches, who have taught and 
practised an artificial separation of life into the 
sacred and secular, the division of a vast grand 
whole into two definite and limited entities. 
True, this conception is probably only a phase, 
and a phase that is already beginning to pass, 
but it would appear that certain recent reported 
discoveries in the direction of concentration — 
such as the alleged link between the Unitarians 
and the Jesuits — will do much to hasten the 
passing, or even to promote the much-vaunted, 
and devoutly - to - be - hoped - for, reunion of 
Christendom. 

As to the personal credo of our author, it has 
not been possible to meet with anything in her 
work that could be called a definite pronounce- 

136 



RELIGION 

ment, yet the facts may well be deduced from 
Robert Elsmere. Let us see if something in the 
nature of a creed can be constructed therefrom : — 

"'Do I believe in God? Surely, surely! 
" Though He slay me yet will I trust Him ! " 
Do I believe in Christ ? Yes — in the teacher, 
the martyr, the symbol to us Westerns of all 
things heavenly and abiding, the image and 
pledge of the invisible life of the spirit — with all 
my soul and all my mind ! 

" ' But in the Man-God, the Word from Eternity 
— in a wonder-working Christ, in a risen and 
ascended Jesus, in the living Intercessor and 
Mediator for the lives of His doomed brethren ? 

" 'Every human soul in which the voice of God 
makes itself felt, enjoys, equally with Jesus of 
Nazareth, the divine sonship, and "miracles do 
not happen! " ' " — Elsmere loquitur, p. 352. ' 

" ' I often lie here wondering at the way in which 
men become the slaves of some metaphysical 
word — personality, or intelligence, or what not ! 
What meaning can they have as applied to God ? 
Herbert Spencer is quite right. We no sooner 
attempt to define what we mean by a personal 
God than we lose ourselves in labyrinths of 
language and logic. But why attempt it at all ? 
I like that French saying : " Quand on me demande 
ce que c'est que Dieu, je I'ignore ; quand on ne me 
le demande pas, je le sais tres-bien ! " No, we 
cannot realise Him in words — we can only live in 
Him, and die to Him ! ' " — Elsmere loquitur, p. 575. 

137 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

" ' It is the education of God. Do not imagine 
it will put you farther from Him ! He is in 
criticism, in science, in doubt, so long as the doubt 
is a pure and honest doubt, as yours is. He is in 
all life, in all thought. The thought of man, as 
it has shaped itself in institutions, in philosophies, 
in science, in patient critical work, or in the life 
of charity, is the one continuous revelation of 
God ! Look for Him in it all ; see how, little 
by little, the Divine indwelling force, using as 
its tools — but merely as its tools ! — man's physical 
appetites and conditions, has built up conscience 
and moral life ; think how every faculty of the 
mind has been trained in turn to take its part 
in the great work of faith upon the visible world ! 
Love and imagination built up religion ; shall 
reason destroy it ? No ! reason is God's, like 
the rest ! Trust it — trust Him ! The leading- 
strings of the past are dropping from you ; they 
are dropping from the world, not wantonly nor 
by chance, but in the providence of God. Learn 
the lesson of your own pain, — learn to seek God, 
not in any single event of past history, bvit in your 
own soul, — in the constant verifications of experi- 
ence, in the life of Christian love. SpirituaUy 
you have gone through the last wrench. I 
promise it you ! You being what you are, nothing 
can cut this ground from under your feet. What- 
ever may have been the forms of human belief, 
faith, the faith which saves, has always been 
rooted here ! All things change — creeds and 

138 



RELIGION 

philosophies and outward systems — but God 
remains ! ' " — Grey loquitur, pp. 345, 346. 

" ' But what we stand to gain is a new social 
bond,' was the flashing answer, ' a new com- 
pelling force in man and in society. Can you 
deny that the world wants it ? What are you 
economists and sociologists of the new type 
always pining for ? Why, for that diminution of 
the self in man which is to enable the individual 
to see the world's ends clearly, and to care not 
only for his own but for his neighbour's interests, 
which is to make the rich devote themselves to 
the poor, and the poor bear with the rich. If 
man only would, he could, you say, solve all the 
problems which oppress him. It is man's will 
which is eternally defective, eternally inadequate. 
Well, the great religions of the world are the 
stimulants by which the power at the root of 
things has worked upon this sluggish instrument 
of human destiny. Without religion you cannot 
make the will equal to its tasks. Our present 
religion fails us ; we must, we will have another ! ' " 
— Elsmere loquitur, p. 548. 

" ' However, I don't imagine we should call 
ourselves a church ! Something much humbler 
will do, if you choose ever to make anything 
of these suggestions of mine. " Association," 
" Society," " Brotherhood," what you will ! But 
always, if I can persuade you, with something in 
the name, and everything in the body itself, to 
show that for the members of it life rests still, 

139 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

as all life worth having has everjnvhere rested, on 
trust and memory ! — trust in the God of experience 
and history ; memory of that God's work in man, 
by which alone we know Him and can approach 
Him. Well, of that work — I have tried to prove 
it to you a thousand times — Jesus of Nazareth 
has become to ^ts, by the evolution of circumstance 
the most moving, the most efficacious of all types 
and epitomes. We have made our protest — we are 
daily making it — in the face of society, against the 
fictions and overgrowths which at the present 
time are excluding him more and more from human 
love. But now, suppose we turn our backs on 
negation, and have done with mere denial ! 
Suppose we throw all our energies into the practical 
building of a new house of faith, the gathering 
and organising of a new Company of Jesus ! '" — 
Elsmere loquitur, pp. 530, 531. 

And again, in Helbeck of Bannisdale : — 

Religion ? All religion need not be as Alan 
Helbeck's. There was religion as the Friedlands 
understood it — a faith convinced of God, and of a 
meaning of human life, trusting the " larger hope " 
that springs out of the daily struggle of con- 
science, and the garnered experience of feeling. 
Both in Friedland and his wife there breathed 
a true spiritual dignity and peace.' " — Laura 
Fountain, solilog.). 

From these extracts there may be deduced with 
some accuracy the metaphysical factor of Mrs. 
Ward's faith ; the Passmore Edwards' Settlement 

140 



EDUCATION 

and her work there give us the other, the practical 
factor. 

EDUCATION 

Mrs. Ward has given us a graphic description 
of one aspect, at any rate, of education in or 
atput the year 1866. Speaking of Marcella, she 
writes : — 

" In her home hfe she had been an average child 
of the quick and clever type,^ with average 
faults. But something in the bare, ugly rooms, 
the discipline, the teaching, the companionship 
of Miss Frederick's Cliff House School for Young 
Ladies transformed little Marcella Boyce for the 
time being into a demon. She hated her lessons, 
though, when she chose, she could do them in a 
hundredth part of the time taken by her com- 
panions ; she hated getting up in the wintry dark, 
and her cold ablutions with some dozen others in 
the comfortless lavatory ; she hated the meals 
in the long schoolroom, where, because twice 
meat was forbidden, and twice pudding allowed, 
she invariably hungered fiercely for more mutton 
and scorned her second course, making a sort of 
dramatic story to herself out of Miss Frederick's 
tyranny and her own thwarted appetite, as she 
sat black-browed and brooding in her place. 
She was not a favourite with her companions, 

1 It is difficult to refrain from mafcing the suggestion 
that this excerpt is mainly autobiographic. 

141 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

and she was a perpetual difficulty and trouble to 
her perfectly well-intentioned schoolmistress. The 
whole of her first year was one continual series 
of sulks, quarrels, and revolts. 

" Perhaps her blackest days were the days she 
spent occasionally in bed, when Miss Frederick, 
at her wits' end, would take advantage of one of 
the child's perpetual colds to try the effect of a 
day's seclusion and solitary confinement, adminis- 
tered in such a form that it could do her charge no 
harm, and might, she hoped, do her good. ' For 
I do believe a great part of it is liver or nerves ! 
No child in her right senses could behave so,' 
she would declare to the mild and stout French 
lady who had been her partner for years, and who 
was more inclined to befriend and excuse Marcella 
than any one else in the house — no one exactly 
knew why. 

" Now the rule of the house when any girl 
was ordered to bed with a cold was, in the first 
place, that she should not put her arms outside 
the bedclothes — for if you were allowed to read 
and amuse yourself in bed, you might as well be 
up ; that the housemaid should visit the patient 
in the early morning with a cup of senna-tea, and 
at long and regular intervals throughout the day 
with beef-tea and gruel ; and that no one should 
come to see and talk with her, unless, indeed, it 
were the doctor, quiet being in all cases of sickness 
the first condition of recovery, and the natural 
schoolgirl in Miss Frederick's persuasion being 

142 



EDUCATION 

more or less inclined to complain without cause, 
if illness were made agreeable. 

" For some fourteen hours, therefore, on these 
days of durance Marcella was left almost wholly 
alone, nothing but a wild mass of black hair, and 
a pair of roving, defiant eyes in a pale face showing 
above the bed-clothes whenever the housemaid 
chose to visit her — a pitiable morsel, in truth, of 
rtther forlorn humanity. For though she had 
her moments of fierce revolt, when she was within 
an ace of throwing the senna-tea in Martha's 
face, and rushing downstairs in her night-gown 
to denounce Miss Frederick in the midst of 
an astonished schoolroom, something generally 
interposed — not conscience, it is to be feared, or 
any wish to ' be good,' but only an aching, inmost 
sense of childish loneliness and helplessness ; a 
perception that she had indeed tried everybody's 
patience to the limit, and that these days in bed 
represented crises which must be borne with, 
even by such a rebel as Marcie Boyce." ^ 

We have gone forward somewhat since those 
days, but much remains still to be done. Educa- 
tion still looms large in politics, and more than one 
Education Bill has been wrecked on the rocks of 
religious difficulties during the past decade, so 
that Governments are beginning to fear, and to 
delay dealing with, this vexed and vexatious 
question. 

Now it can hardly be contended that our scheme 
1 Marcella (London : T. Nelson & Sons, 1909), p. 405. 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

— if indeed there can be said to be a scheme — 
of national education is anything approaching 
perfection. 

And one of the chief charges against the system 
is that it takes no thought of the period — that 
fateful period in the hfe of boy or girl — between 
leaving the elementary school, at the age of four- 
teen or thereabouts, and the time when the child 
becomes self-supporting — at, say, the age of 
eighteen. 

Mrs. Ward has thoroughly recognised this diffi- 
culty, and a good deal of the work of the Settlement 
in Tavistock Place has been designed so as to meet 
it. And she has thought also of the younger 
children, for in connection with the Settlement 
there is a Vacation School. 

This idea Mrs. Ward borrowed from the United 
States, but it has taken root in England. The 
first Vacation School was held at the Settlement 
in 1902. The idea was to give school children a 
joyous holiday — something better than listless 
roaming about. The children of the poor — and 
indeed many others — cannot amuse themselves ; 
they suffer from a kind of childish ennui, and long 
for the return of the normal school days. The 
Vacation School seeks to satisfy the childish hunger 
for occupation, by setting something definite to 
do — seeks to care for their physical well-being 
by carefully organised exercises — seeks to show 
children that getting to know and learning to do 
are in themselves true pleasures — seeks to afford 

144 



EDUCATION 

joy to those whom poverty deprives of the pleasure 
of the country and the sea. 

The curriculum is all-embracing : — -Manual 
training, including woodwork for the older boys ; 
housewifery and cooking for the older girls 
(cooking twice a week for boys also) ; singing ; 
gymnastics, including boxing for the older boys ; 
musical drill and physical exercises ; story- 
telling (observe the persistence of the Elsmere 
idea) ; clay-modelling ; dancing ; nature-study 
from life ; botany and zoology ; brush-work and 
drawing ; dramatics — the pieces prepared during 
the course are performed before the whole school on 
breaking-up day ; needlework — chiefly dolls' 
clothes ; basket-work and cane-weaving ; lantern 
story-telling ; ambulance work and nursing — even 
to washing and dressing a baby ; swimming — taught 
to both boys and girls. As many as possible of 
these lessons are given in the Settlement garden — a 
charming shady spot, though necessarily small. 
The youngest children are separated into two 
classes for kindergarten ; stories ; building-games ; 
paper-folding ; cutting and pasting ; nature-study ; 
singing ; colouring ; clay-modelling ; boat-sailing. 

The co-education method has been adopted 
with entire success. It has been found to give 
variety and charm, has stimulated interest, 
helped to humanise the boys and taught them 
politeness, enabled the girls to meet the boys 
without excessive bashfulness on either side. 
There has never been any trouble about discipline 
K 145 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

— the fear of being told that they would not be 
allowed to come agam has acted as a strong 
deterrent against bad behaviour. At the close 
of the session the parents are invited to come and 
see what their children have learned to do, to 
their intense satisfaction and delight. 

That the whole experiment has been a great 
success is proved by the fact that this year (1911) 
the average daily attendance has been 1050. 
Amongst the innovations of the year have been the 
introduction of morris — and maypole — dancing 
and model-yacht building. 

Then there is the Invalid Children's School. 
This was started by Mrs. Ward in 1899. Nothing 
of the kind had ever before been attempted in any 
country — it was another of those pioneer works 
which our author seems particularly to have loved. 

An ambulance carriage was especially con- 
structed to convey from their homes to the School, 
and in charge of a duly qualified nurse, children 
suffering from heart, spinal, or hip trouble. Such 
children cannot, of course, receive much direct 
teaching, but they learn something, their interest 
in life is stimulated, and the mere change of scene, 
from the, too often, gloomy home, to the large, 
airy, bright rooms of the school, is of itself a 
stimulus and a potent aid towards better health. 

London was already familiar with schools for 
mentally defective children, and at these schools 
a certain amount of provision had sometimes 
been made for the crippled, — but it was found to 

146 



EDUCATION 

be undesirable to mix the latter with the former. 
The wits of cripples are often very keen, and the 
harm done was sometimes greater than the benefit 
received. 

The success of the Invalid Children's School was 
immediate, and led to important developments in 
all the big towns of the country — open-air schools 
are one of the off-shoots of the parent scheme. 

In London the County Council has taken up 
the matter with a heartiness that one had hardly 
ventured to look for in a public body. A scheme 
of work has been drawn up, and passed by the 
Board of Education. Lists of invalid children are 
obtained from the various hospitals where such 
children are received, and, as soon as they are 
convalescent, the ambulance omnibus, with its 
uniformed nurse, calls twice daily to fetch and 
return the little patients. 

The rooms of the school are furnished with low 
tables, arm-chairs with extending foot-rests, and 
special couches for spinal cases. 

Dinner is provided for the children in the school, 
so that they may have only the two journeys, 
from and to their homes. In the summer months 
they are frequently taken out for the day into the 
country, where they receive short practical lessons 
in elementary botany, and nature-study. 

This scheme and these methods have been 
copied and adopted throughout the country ; in 
consequence much suffering has been alleviated 
and many lives have been brightened. 

147 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

That this and other reforms should have resulted 
from the initiative of individuals is only typical 
of the country. As a nation we are not initiative. 
There is a general feeling against the use of public 
money for experimental purposes — especially in 
social matters. 

Private people commence some philanthropic 
experiment, and, if successful, the Government 
sometimes steps in and takes it up. Even so 
important a thing as Education was started in 
this way (again the foreigner must stand aghast 
at our happy-go-lucky methods). First the 
Church established Church schools and the Non- 
conformists followed with the so-called " British " 
schools ; then the Government stepped in with 
annual grants, demanding at the same time the 
right to examine and inspect the schools. 

Then came the great movement led by Foster, 
and the birth of the School Board. Secondary 
and Higher Education have remained, until quite 
recently, in the hands of private individuals and 
charitable societies. Fortunately for England 
there are not wanting signs of an awakening to a 
sense of the national needs in this matter of 
Education, and the future is not entirely without 
hope. 

POLITICS 

An attempt is here being made to deal separ- 
ately with questions of religion and of politics, 

148 



POLITICS 

but not without some difficulty, since the two are 
closely allied to each other. For many men 
make a religion of their politics, and indeed every 
man who follows politics with a single purpose 
and a noble aim, does so with an ideal that is 
essentially religious. 

Now the essence of politics, it will hardly be 
denied, is the use of the franchise, and the ethical 
element concerns the wrong and the right use of 
that power. 

It is evident that the supreme object of the 
exercise of political power can never be the 
mere exaltation of a political party. It may 
indeed happen that the exaltation of a particular 
section of the political sentiment of the nation, 
as representing a definite and distinct school of 
thought, or some principle, may be necessary as a 
preliminary step towards the attainment of a 
supreme end ; but that end itself it cannot be. 

In order that such end may be duly attained, 
it must first be sought and recognised. Such 
knowledge of the end in view for every citizen is 
unmistakably laid down in the annals of our 
race — it is the national well-being, obtained 
through the well-being of the individual. 

With this brief statement of the broad general 
principle of political action we may now proceed 
to the study of the effect of this principle as found 
in the works under our consideration. 

And first it should be noted that our author's 
knowledge of the political matters which have 

149 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

troubled the past two decades, and are still 
troubling us, is remarkable. This can hardly be 
better demonstrated than by a reference to her 
handling of the various and difficult problems 
that are from time to time attacked by Factory 
Acts and Sweated Labour Bills, and only one 
passage need be cited in evidence. In this pass- 
age " him " refers to Fontenoy, who, as leader of 
the Opposition, is engaged in attempting to wreck 
a Bill of this nature, introduced by Lord Maxwell, 
and instigated, doubtless, by the tireless enthusiasm 
of Marcella. 

" For him the Bill fell into three parts. The 
first part, which was mainly confined to small 
amendments and extensions of former Acts, 
would be sharply criticised, but would probably 
pass without much change. The second part 
contained the famous clause by which it became 
penal to practise certain trades, such as tailoring, 
boot-finishing, and shirt-making, in a man's or 
woman's own home — in the same place, that is to 
say, as the worker uses for eating and sleeping. 
This clause, which represented the climax of a 
long series of restrictions upon the right of man 
to stitch even his own life away, still more upon 
his right to force his children or bribe his neighbour 
to a like waste of the nation's force, was by now 
stirring the industrial mind of England far and 
wide. 

" On this vital clause, in Fontenoy's belief, the 
Government would go down. But if, by amazing 

150 



POLITICS 

good fortune and good generalship, they should 
get through with it, then the fight would but rage 
the more fiercely round the last two sections of 
the Bill. The third section dealt with the hours 
of labour in the new workshops that were to be. 
For the first time it became directly penal for a 
man, as well as a woman, to work more than the 
accepted factory-day of ten and a half hours, with 
a few exceptions and exemptions in the matter of 
overtime. On this clause, if it were reached, the 
Socialist vote, were it given solidly for the Govern- 
ment, might, no doubt, pull them through. ' But 
if we have any luck — damn it ! they won't get 
the chance ! ' Fontenoy would say, with that 
grim, sudden reddening which revealed from 
moment to moment the feverish tension of the 
man. 

" In the last section of the Bill the Govern- 
ment, having made its revolution, looked round 
for a class on which to lay the burden of carrying 
it into action, and found it in the landlords. The 
landlords were to be the policemen of the new 
Act. To every owner of every tenement or other 
house in London, the Bih said : You are re- 
sponsible. If, after a certain date, you allow 
certain trades to be carried on within your walls 
at all, even by the single man or the single woman 
working in their own room, penalty and punish- 
ment shall follow. Of this clause in the Bill 
Fontenoy could never speak with calmness. One 
might see his heart thumping in his breast as he 

151 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

denounced it. At bottom it was to him the last 
and vilest step in a long and slanderous campaign 
against the class to which he belonged — against 
property — against the existing social order. " ^ 

This masterly exposition of the difficulties 
attending all Labour legislation could only have 
been written by one who had a thorough grasp 
of the subject, and, reading between the lines, 
it is pretty evident where her sympathies lie. 

Now there exists in London — with branches in 
all the large towns, at each of the Universities, 
and in two of the Colonies, namely, Canada and 
New Zealand— a certain Society called Fabian, ^ 
the moving spirit of which is George Bernard 
Shaw, nobly backed, be it said, by that inde- 
fatigable couple, Mr. and Mrs. Sidney Webb. 
This Society has been engaged in the work of pro- 
paganda for the past twenty-nine years — a work 
conducted by means of public meetings, and, 
still more, by the issue of political pamphlets. 
A glance through the titles of these pamphlets 
will reveal the fact that they deal very largely 
with just the difficulties that Mrs. Ward's heroine 
Marcella was engaged in combating, e.g. :— 

A Word of Remembrance to the Rich, Why are 
the Many Poor ? The Working Life of 

1 Sir Geoyge Tressady (London : T. Nelson & Sons, 1910), 
pp. 280, 281. 

2 This society is repeatedly referred to in Marcella 
and Sir George Tressady under the name of " Venturist." 



POLITICS 

Women, The Endowment of Motherhood, 
Child Labour tinder Capitalism, The 
Village and the Landlord, The Secret of 
Rural Depopidation, Parish and District 
Councils, The Tenant's Sanitary Cate- 
chism, The Humanising of the Poor Law, 
The Wastage of Child Life, The Common- 
sense of Municipal Trading, Home-work 
and Sweating, and State Arbitration and 
the Living Wage. 

These pamphlets are written by some of the 
most prominent and most daring thinkers of 
the age — men hke Shaw, Webb, Sir Ohver 
Lodge, H. G. Wells, Dr. Clifford and Edward 
Carpenter. — hence they have made a deep 
impression on the times ; for instance, it has 
been said (and with a great deal of truth) 
that the epoch-making Budget of 1909 was 
first outlined in the offices of the Fabian 
Society.^ 

It would, perhaps, have been hardly worth while 
to refer to this association and its work, except 
for one very significant fact ; that although it is a 
Collectivist Society, it consists almost exclusively 
of people of the middle classes — many of its 
members being quite wealthy. These are the 
very people who were roused by the horrible 
state of the poor in our villages, that was exposed 

1 Vide Fabian Tract, No. 135, " Paupers and Old-Age 
Pensions." 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

by Mrs. Ward in Robert Elsmere and Marcella, 
and of the sweating in our towns, so ably dealt 
with in Sir George Tressady. It was not the 
working classes themselves who were roused, 
for they did not then read the books ^ — it was the 
middle classes whose sympathies were touched, 
and it cannot be doubted that this flood of sym- 
pathy sent hundreds into the ranks of the Fabian 
Socialists, who, with a fresh influx of financial 
and moral support, were thus able to redouble 
their activities and so to influence the great army 
of " wobblers " in favour of social reform. Now 
part of the policy, or perhaps one ought to say, 
of the tactics, of the Fabian Society was to per- 
meate the Liberal Party with their opinions on 
social problems. 

This is probably one of the astutest moves that 
any association has ever perpetrated, and speaks 
volumes for the sagacity of its leaders, from whom, 
indeed, in view of their status in the intellectual 
world, we should hardly expect less. The Fabian 
committee saw', and frankly recognised, that the 
word Socialist is anathema in England — it carries 
a stigma in every syllable — and in the public 
mind it is inevitably and indelibly connected with 
street-corner orators and out-of-work agitators. 
No political party calling itself " Socialist " has 
ever had the semblance of a chance of success at 
the polls — only two persons labelling themselves 

1 They have read them since, in the Public Libraries, 
and in cheap editions, in enormous numbers. 



POLITICS 

uncompromisingly " Socialist " have ever been 
elected to Parliament.^ 

The Fabian leaders, therefore, hit upon the 
ingenious idea of calling themselves by the 
euphemistic term " Fabian " and of zz'orking 
through the Liberals. We have the story of how 
it was done in the words of the Fabian generalis- 
simo himself : — " We now adopted a policy which 
snapped the last tie between our methods and the 
sectarianism of the Federation. ^ We urged our 
members to join the Liberal and Radical Associa- 
tions of their districts, or, if they preferred it, 
the Conservative Associations. We told them 
to become members of the nearest Radical Club 
and Co-operative Store, and to get delegated 
to the Metropolitan Radical Federation and the 
Liberal and Radical Union if possible. On these 
bodies we made speeches and moved resolutions, 
or, better still, got the parliamentary candidate for 
the constituency to move them, and secured re- 
ports and encouraging little articles for him in the 
Star. We permeated the party organisations, 
and pulled all the wires we could lay our hands on, 
with our utmost adroitness and energy ; and we 
succeeded so far that in 1888 we gained the 
solid advantage of a Progressive majority, full of 
ideas that would never have come into their 
heads had not the Fabian put them there, on the 

^ George Lansbury, M.P. for Bow and Bromley, and 
Victor Grayson, ex-M.P. for Colne Valley. 
^ i.e. of the Social Democratic Federation. 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

first London County Council. The generalship of 
this movement was undertaken chiefly by Sidney 
Webb, who played such bewildering conjuring 
tricks with the Liberal thimbles and the Fabian 
peas, that, to this day, both the Liberals and the 
Sectarian Socialists stand aghast at him. It 
was exciting whilst it lasted, all this ' permeation 
of the Liberal party,' as it was called ; and no 
person with the smallest political intelligence is 
likely to deny that it made a foothold for us in 
the press, and pushed forward Socialism in munici- 
pal politics to an extent which can only be appreci- 
ated by those who remember how things stood 
before our campaign. When we published Fabian 
Essays at the end of 1889, having ventured, 
with great misgiving, on a subscription edition of 
a thousand, it went of^ like smoke ; and our 
cheap edition brought up the circulation to about 
twenty thousand. In the meantime we had been 
cramming the public with information in tracts, 
on the model of our earliest financial success in 
that department, namely, Facts for Socialists, 
the first edition of which actually brought us a 
profit — the only instance of the kind then known. 
In short, the years 1888, i88g, 1890, saw a Fabian 
boom, the reverberation of which in the provinces 
at last produced the local Fabian societies which 
are represented here to-night." ^ 

^ George Bernard Shaw. The Fabian Society : its 
Early History (published by the Society, London, 1901), 
pp. 18, 19. 

156 



POLITICS 

It is all very well for Shaw to say " The general- 
ship of this movement was undertaken chiefly by 
Sidney Webb " ; but we doubt not it was his 
own subtle brain that devised the scheme, and it 
was the glamour of his own great name that 
pressed it through to success. But note, if you 
please, the dates of the " Fabian boom," — 1888, 
1889, 1890. Robert Elsmere appeared in 1888 — 
was reviewed at length by no less a person than 
Gladstone himself in the Nineteenth Century in 
1889, and was promptly bought in thousands 
and read by tens of thousands of the thinking 
public of the upper and lower middle classes. If 
there be no connection between these two move- 
ments, the coincidence becomes extraordinary. 

Shaw chortles (if one may take the liberty of 
using a word of dubious etymology, and of no 
literary value unless it be a certain onomatopoeic 
expressiveness) over the success of his scheme, 
and describes his methods as " Fabian tactics." 

What, it may be wondered, would Quintus 
Fabius Maximus Verrucosus have thought of this 
stratagem ? It seems to partake rather the 
dexterity of Hannibal, who, it will be remembered, 
when the " Cunctator " closed the passes of the 
Apennines against him, still managed — by an 
ingenuity that was truly Shavian — to escape. ^ 

It would indeed be interesting to know if it 
ever occurred to Bernard Shaw to thank Mrs. 
Humphry Ward for having sown the seeds of 
^ Vide Titus Livius, De Bello Punico II. 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

sympathy and so prepared the land for the harvest 
he is so proud to reap. 

No. 145 of the " Fabian Tracts " is The Case 
for School Nurseries. This was directly inspired by 
Mrs. Ward's experimental initiative at the Pass- 
more Edwards Settlement Vacation School, which 
has been described elsewhere (p. 144). Tract 
No. 135, Paupers and Old- Age Pensions, by Sidney 
Webb, has had the flattering result of inducing 
the Government to actually pass an Old - Age 
Pensions Bill (in 1909). That no political party 
offered any serious opposition to the passing of this 
Bill must be accepted as evidence of the spread of 
benevolent ideals. 

That Mrs. Ward herself has little or no leaning 
towards Socialism, whether in the form of Fabian- 
ism or in any other form, is made abundantly 
clear : — 

" To Hallin the social life, the community, was 
everything ; yet to be a ' Socialist ' seemed to him 
more and more to be a traitor. He would have 
built his state on the purified will of the individual 
man, and could conceive no other foundation 
for a state worth having. But for the purifica- 
tion there must be effort, and for effort there 
must be freedom. Socialism, as he read it, 
despised and decried freedom, and placed the 
good man wholly in external conditions. It was 
aiming at a state of things under which the joys 
and pains, the teaching and the risks of true 
possession, were to be for ever shut off from the 

158 



POLITICS 

poor human will, which yet, according to him, 
could never do without them, if man was to be 
man." i 

Here is a man who has succeeded in eliminating 
all self from his politics, a man who looks far ahead 
for the final solution, a man who has accom- 
plished personal reform and who would have 
others do so in order that the perfect legislative 
enactment may follow. 

A careful study of Mrs. Ward's work as a whole 
would appear to lead to the conclusion, however — 
it would make this work too bulky were any 
attempt made to develop the theory in detail — 
that it is not so much a distrust of Socialism 
(towards which in youth she seems to have had 
leanings) as a consideration for the possible 
coercion of minorities that has driven our author, 
in spite of certain well-marked Radical tendencies, 
into the camp of the Conservatives. For keen 
student of politics that she is, she can hardly have 
failed to read that luminous tirade against the 
tyranny of majorities, entitled Man versus the 
State. In this work, Herbert Spencer takes as 
his text " The great political superstition of the 
present, is the divine right of parliaments," and 
in his deliberate philosophic manner he proceeds to 
crush the superstition. 

Mrs. Ward, whose mind is phenomenally clear 
of superstition in any shape or form, has evi- 
dently no place for this particular form of it ; 
^ Marcella, p. 423. 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

and if this solution is not correct, it can only be 
regarded as a curious fact, and one that psycho- 
logists may well ponder, that ]\Irs. Ward has 
joined the party opposed to that which is now 
attempting to carry out some of her own earlier 
aims of betterment. 

Having, however, thrown in her lot with the 
Conservative part}^ it is characteristic of Mrs. 
Ward that she has put her whole soul into the 
cause — ^has become party pamphleteer, lecturer 
and canvasser. 

In Letters to my Neighbours on the Present 
Election,^ we find the same firm grip of a difficult 
political situation as was shown in Marcella and 
Sir George Tressady. 

Here is all the old acumen that we have almost 
become accustomed to expect — all the deep in- 
sight into human affairs which has been marked 
from time to time during the progress of this 
dissertation. 

And there is one extremely interesting little 
bit of self-revelation — a momentary drawing aside 
of the mental curtain, such as our author seldom 
permits : — 

" Many years ago, when I first came to live in 
this country,^ full of vague and, on the whole, 
hostile ideas about land and landlords, it fell to 
me in the course of writing Marcella to go through 
the Agricultural Reports of the great Labour 

1 (London : Smith, Elder & Co., 1910.) 
- Mrs. Ward's childhood was spent in Tasmania. 

160 



POLITICS 

Commission. I read all I could find in them — a 
strange mixed tale ! — about the condition of the 
country labourer, his housing and wages. And 
nothing impressed me more — impressed a mind 
reluctant at that time to be impressed in any 
such way — than the gradual discovery that in 
the preceding forty years the housing of the 
labourer throughout England had been practically 
renewed and transformed, at great effort and 
cost, often at real personal sacrifice, by the land- 
lord class. Wherever — that is to say — landlords 
existed. England, one saw, was divided between 
two types of rural dwelling — the ' open ' village, 
without any resident landlords, where the houses 
belonged to small owners, and were the result of 
speculative building ; and the ' close ' village 
belonging to a landed estate, where the cottages 
had been rebuilt, or efficiently repaired, and were 
decently maintained. 

" The ' open ' village was still, as it is now, 
full of hovels. The ' close ' village had been 
rebuilt, gardens and allotments had been pro- 
vided. Of course there were exceptions — there 
always are. But broadly speaking a great and 
beneficent change was worked during these years 
over large tracts of England by the landlords of 
England ; and it is the more creditable to them 
because it was done at a time of falling rents and 
agricultural depression." ^ 

^ Letters to my Neighboilrs on the Present Election, pp. 

49. 50- 

L l6l 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

Here, then, we have explained to us what had 
always been somewhat inexplicable — namely, 
how it happened that Marcella, who spent quite 
a lot of her time in arraigning landlordism, came to 
marry a landlord. In the meantime, i.e. during 
Maxwell's courtship (or rather during the writing 
of it), Marceha {i.e. Mrs. Ward) had read the Agri- 
cultural Report of the Labour Commission, and 
had found the landlords responsible for a " bene- 
ficent " and " creditable " change ! 



SOCIAL LIFE 

While giving us some remarkable pen-portraits 
of the various types of English men and women, 
while picturing for us in perspective the religious, 
social, and political movements of her time, Mrs. 
Ward has contributed to literature what is perhaps 
more valuable than any of these things — an 
accurate representation of the Society of her day. 
With the help of these works, students of the 
history of our race will for all time be able to get 
a glimpse of " the hidden resources and real 
forces of English Society" — to use her own 
phrase. 

The Society of these romances is essentiahy 
feudal and aristocratic. There are lords and land- 
lords and squires still in possession of the rights 
and powers conferred on them by their position, 
and still exercising those rights over their tenants 

162 



SOCIAL LIFE 

and dependents. But our author is careful to 
show how such authority entails its corresponding 
responsibility in spite of opinions, religious and 
political. Her men of position are men who are 
faithful to their traditions, unchangeable in their 
ideas and their methods, believing themselves to 
^e, and acting as, sole arbiters of the lives of 
"T:hose whom fate has placed in dependence upon 
them. 

Their women too are deeply imbued with the 
same spirit. See how Mrs. Allison, in Sir George 
Tressady, with infinite care trains her son always 
with a view to the duties which will fall to his lot 
as the owner of vast estates ; how she herself, 
during the boy's minority, lives in the ancestral 
manor, reigning like a petty queen amongst her 
people, beloved and revered by all. 

In Sir George himself we have the type of aristo- 
crat who has been touched with the spirit of the 
great democratic movement. He recognises in- 
deed the importance and the usefulness of the part 
in life he is called upon to play, but the part has 
lost some of its ancient glamour, has grown just 
a little irksome. Thus he becomes a prey to the 
feeling that there is a constant discord between the 
little world he governs, with its semi-feudal 
customs and its out-of-date traditions, and the 
great world outside — the world of thought, and 
action, and movement. He is thus able to admit 
that the secretary of a trade union, though prob- 
ably a man of humble birth, is a more important 

163 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

person than himself, by reason of his larger field 
of work. 

Jacob Delafield, in Lady Rose's Daughter, has 
his youth overshadowed by the possible inherit- 
ance of a dukedom, with its heavy responsibilities ; 
and when the great position falls to his lot he hesi- 
tates to accept it, and only consents in the end to 
do so because he is urged thereto by the strength 
of his love for Julie, and his wish to have her with 
him in the task which destiny has thrust upon 
them. For they have a task these high-born 
folk, to accomplish which they have acquired, 
through the ages, habits of self-restraint and of 
dignity which have had a deep effect on the moral 
life of the nation. 

Whilst giving us a brilliant description of the 
outer phases of this Society, its way of life, its 
point of view, its conversation, Mrs. Ward has not 
hesitated to go deeper and to show us its organisa- 
tion and its foundations. Of these latter she would 
appear to consider discipline as one of its chief 
virtues, backed by that energy, organised and 
traditional, which goes to the making of the 
perfect English gentleman. This type, she shows 
us, is the natural product of a Society which governs 
itself, and yet is governed by its aristocrats — 
that is to say, the people, having full freedom 
of election, choose aristocrats to represent them 
rather than men of their own class, whom they 
don't always trust. Hence we get a homogeneous 
governing class, working in harmony with the 

164 



SOCIAL LIFE 

governed — except for the occasional acrimony 
of party strife. 

Following the lines of the old phrase " nobility, 
clergy, and gentry," Mrs. Ward's picture of the 
governing classes would include the incumbent of 
the parish. Thus Elsmere is no sooner settled 
in Murewell than he takes charge of the affairs 
of his people ; he attempts, by all the means 
within his power, to create a soil more favourable 
to the growth of the human plant ; he founds 
and manages clubs for the girls and the boys ; 
he runs both a natural history and a choral society ; 
he is actively interested in the sanitation and the 
health of the parish, even to the extent of giving, 
during a time of stress, personal assistance to the 
village doctor. These people are "his people"; 
so, while loving them as their spiritual father, he 
rules them paternally for their own good, for they 
are his children. 

In Marcella we have pictured for us another 
type of the governing class. Her father being 
cynical and indifferent, she takes upon herself 
the care of his tenants ; she essays to better their 
lot by founding a straw-plaiting industry, and 
makes the affairs of each needy household her 
special care. Later on, when, as Lady Maxwell, 
she has more power and more experience, she is 
able to do more for those who are her dependents, 
" her people." She gives up the old manor house 
of her family to be used as a club for the young 
men of the neighbourhood, she raises the wages 

165 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

of the agricultural labourers on the Maxwell 
estate, and when her husband is made a Cabinet 
Minister she goes and lives among the poor of 
London so as to be better able to understand their 
needs and their ambitions : — 

" Frankly, these five months were among the 
happiest of her life. She and Maxwell were con- 
stantly together, from morning till night, doing 
the things that were congenial to them. They 
went in and out of every factory and workshop 
in which certain trades were practised, within a 
three-mile radius ; they became the intimate 
friends of every factory inspector and every 
trade-union official in the place. Luckily, 
Maxwell's shyness — at least in Mile End — was 
not of the sort that can readily be mistaken for 
a haughty mind. He was always ready to be 
informed ; his diffident kindness asked to be set 
at ease ; while in any real ardour of debate his 
trained capacity and his stores of knowledge would 
put even the expert on his mettle." ^ 

Lord Maxw^ell himself is a very high type of the 
" governing class " — an economist with a broad 
vision ; in fact, a statesman. His view of the 
social conditions of his time is : — 

" that the enormous industrial development 
of the past century has shown us the forces at 
w^ork in the evolution of human societies on a 
gigantic scale, and by thus magnifying them has 

^ Sir George Tressady (London : T. Nelson & Sons, 1909), 
p. 127. 

166 



SOCIAL LIFE 

given us a new understanding of them. The 
vast extension of the individual will and power 
which science has brought to humanity during 
the last hundred years wa> always present to 
him as food for the natural exultation — a kind of 
pledge of the boundless prospects of the race." ^ 
But on the other hand he fully realises " the 
struggle of Society brought face to face with this 
huge increment of the individual power, forced 
to deal with it for its own higher and mysterious 
ends, to moralise and socialise it lest it should 
destroy itself and the State together ; the slow 
steps by which the modern community has suc- 
ceeded in asserting itself against the individual, 
in protecting the weak from his weakness, the 
poor from his poverty, in defending the woman 
and the child from the fierce claims of capital, in 
forcing upon trade after trade the axiom that no 
man may lawfully build his wealth upon the 
exhaustion and degradation of his fellows." ^ 

Maxwell sees that the State must dominate 
these somewhat excessive individual forces, against 
which there is abroad a spirit tending to protect 
itself by means of class struggles, trades unions, 
and strikes. But neither he nor Marcella — in 
spite of the latter's earlier leanings in that 
direction — have any delusions on the question of 
Socialism : — 

" Neither had the smallest belief that any of 

^ Sir George Tressady, p. 126. 
* Ihid. p. 124. 

167 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

the great civilised communities would ever see 
the State the sole landlord and the sole capitalist ; 
or that Collectivism as a system has, or deserves 
to have, any serious prospects in the world. To 
both, possession — private and personal possession 
— from the child's first toy, or the tiny garden 
where it sows its passionately watched seeds, to 
the great business of the great estate, is one of 
the first and chiefest elements of human training, 
not to be escaped by human effort, or only at 
such a cost of impoverishment and disaster that 
mankind would but take the step — supposing it 
conceivable that it should take it — to retrace it 
instantly." ^ 

Xo doubt Mrs. Ward would wish to show us that 
Marcella's life as a nurse in London, where she 
was brought into contact with the working classes 
and the realities of their lives, changed completely 
these earlier ideas of hers. 

" ' If I were a thoroughgoing Socialist,' she says 
to Frank Leven, a young landlord who is talking 
of selling his land and going to Canada, ' I should 
say to you. Go ! The sooner you throw off all 
ties to your property, the sooner you prove to 
the world that you and your class are mere use- 
less parasites, the sooner we shall be rid of you. 
But unfortunately / am not such a good Socialist 
as that. I waver — I am not sure of what I wish. 
But one thing I am sure of, that unless people 
like you are going to treat their lives as a pro- 
^ Siy George Tressady, p. 123. 
168 



SOCIAL LIFE 

fession, to take their calling seriously, there are no 
more superfluous drones, no more idle plunderers 
than you, in all ci\-ilised society ! ' " i 

To Anthony Craven, a fellow-member of the 
Socialist or " Venturist " Society to which she had 
once belonged, she is even more explicit, and we 
can hardly doubt that the thoughts are Mrs. 
Ward's own : — 

" ' No,' says Marcella, ' so far as Socialism means a 
political system — the trampling out of private 
enterprise and competition, and all the rest of it — 
I find myself slipping away from it more and more. 
No ; as I go about among these wage-earners, 
the emphasis — do what I will — comes to lie less 
and less on possession, more and more on char- 
acter. I go to two tenements in the same building. 
One is hell — the other heaven. Why ? Both, so 
far as I can see, might have a decent and pleasant 
life of it. Both belong to well-paid artisans with 
equal opportunities. But one is a man ; the 
other, with all his belongings, will soon be a vaga- 
bond. That is not all, I know — oh, don't trouble 
to tell me so ! — but it is more than I thought. 
No ; my sympathies in this district where I work 
are not so much with the Socialists that I know 
here — saving your presence ! — but with the j)eople, 
for instance, that slave at Charity Organisation, 
and get all the abuse from all sides.' 

" Anthony laughed scornfully. 

" ' It is always the way with a woman,' he said, 
1 Marcella, p. 556. 
169 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

' she invariably prefers the tinkers to the re- 
reformers.' 

" ' And as to your SociaUsm,' she went on, 
unheeding, the thought of many days finding 
defiant expression — ' it seems to me like all other 
interesting and important things — destined to 
help something else ! Christianity begins with 
the poor and division of goods — it becomes the 
great bulwark of property and the feudal state. 
The Crusades — they set out to recover the tomb 
of the Lord ! — what they did was to increase trade 
and knowledge. And so with Socialism. It 
talks of a new order — what it will do is to help 
to make the old sound ! ' " i 

Once again we have Mrs. Ward emphasising 
the importance of " character " on our national 
life, even in its lowest grades. She has observed, 
as others have done, that, unlike the French, who 
worship intellect, we attach the greater importance 
to character. 

The English leader of men is not the man with 
the most brilliant intellect, but the man with the 
strongest character. Writing on this subject, 
M. Andre Chevrillon says : — 

' ' C'est pour eux ' ' (that is, the English) ' ' la qualite 
morale par excellence, celle qui fait la valeur 
et la beaute de I'etoffe humaine, celle qu'ils 
reverent bien avant I'intelligence chez leurs grands 
hommes ; c'est la fin supreme de I'education. 
Cette forme, qui s'appuie aux idees de Dieu et du 
1 Marcella, pp. 3R4, 385. 
170 



SOCIAL LIFE 

devoir, est anglaise, construite de toutes les certi- 
tudes anglaises, belle et reguliere empreinte que 
I'enfant, jusque-la vague, regoit a I'ecole, et qui, 
le marquant d'un trait speciiique, le determine 
gentleman anglais. Suivant des contours exacts, 
g — croyances, prejuges, idees traditionelles, habi- 
"tudes et disciplines, — elle fa9onne a nouveau son 
etre individuel, ou bien s'y superpose, effa^ant 
et couvrant tout ce qui en lui est a part, impulsif, 
emotif, excentrique, hors du type regulier, — se 
manifestant au dehors par ce masque energique, 
ces traits bien coupes, ces gestes sobres et tran- 
quilles, ces airs d'impassibilite de certitude et 
de hauteur, qui hors d'Angleterre font le style et 
I'originalite d'un gentleman anglais, mais en Angle- 
terre annoncent sa ressemblance avec tons les 
autres gentlemen anglais." ^ 

And this " character " he has just previously 
defined as : — 

" Forme precise, forte pour reprimer I'impulsif 
desordre du caprice, les brusques saccades des 
passions interieures, pour resister aux chocs, 
suggestions, et tentations du dehors, pour durer 
et ne pas se detendre en decouragement, ne pas 
s'avaguir en reve, ne pas s'emitter en poussiere de 
volonte." 2 

If we add tenacity of purpose, a strong sense of 
duty, and a keen appreciation of the importance 

1 La Peiisee de Ruskin (Paris : Librarie Hachette et Cie, 
1909). PP- 214, 215. 
2 Ihid. p. 213. 

171 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

of moral dignity, we shall have a fairly accurate 
description of our national ideal. 

People of this type move slowly ; change is ob- 
jectionable to them, their traditions are con- 
servative, their instinct is to look askance at all 
innovations. In this Mrs. Ward sees the essentials, 
the foundations of the solidarity of the English 
race, its continuity and its steady, sober progress. 
She sees an England which lends herself only 
to the hand of the reformer who is careful to spoil 
nothing, who is willing to work in the same direc- 
tion as Nature herself. Whatever crisis may 
arrive, the instinct of the nation may be trusted 
to see that its destinies are guided along the lines 
laid down by her ancient traditions. 

But bej^ond the kingdom itself, England to-day 
is conscious of the Empire. The motherland sends 
out her sons to exploit and colonise her far-flung 
dominions, carrying with them the old traditions, 
it is true, but imbued with a new vigour and a 
younger outlook. 

This is a phase of our history that has appealed 
strongly to Mrs. Humphry Ward, and in May and 
June 1908 she made a tour in Canada. 

The result of that tour she has given us in a 
charming romance entitled Canadian Born. In 
it she has penetrated to the very soul of the British 
race, showing us its irresistible energy, its dominant 
force, its imperial instincts. 

The hero, one George Anderson, is the very 
personification of that vigorous young colony, 

172 



SOCIAL LIFE 

embodying in himself its efforts and its aspira- 
tions. 

In fine, almost dramatic, contrast Mrs. Ward 
has represented the luxury and refinement and 
traditions of the old country by three persons — Lady 
Merton, Philip Gaddesden, and Arthur Delaine. 
J Elizabeth Merton, the heroine of the story, 
early succumbs to the fascination of the new 
country, much to the disgust of Delaine, who is an 
enthusiast on the subjects of ancient Greece and 
Rome. 

"'One hears,' she says, 'of how the young 
nations came down and peopled the Roman 
Empire. But that lasted so long. One person— 
with one life — could only see a bit of it. And 
here one sees it all — all, at once ! — as a great march 
— the march of a new people to its home. Fifty 
years ago, wolves, and bears, and buffaloes, — 
twelve years ago even, the great movement had 
not begun — and now, every week, a new town ! — 
the new nation spreading, spreading over the open 
land, irresistibly, silently : no one setting bounds to 
it!"'i 

" Before this century is out," says an eminent 
Canadian, " we shall be a people of eighty millions, 
and within measurable time this plain of a thou- 
sand miles from here to the Rockies will be as 
thickly peopled as the plain of Lombardy." - 

Then swiftly comes the poignant contrast : — 

1 Canadian Born (London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1910), 
p. 57. 2 //j/^ p_ Cj8. 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

" Delaine endured a wearisome half-hour. He 
got no speech with Elizabeth, and prize-cattle 
were his abomination. When the half-hour was 
done, he slipped away, unnoticed, from the party. 
He had marked a small lake or ' slough ' at the 
rear of the house, with wide reed-beds and a clump 
of cotton-wood. He betook himself to the cotton- 
wood, took out his pocket Homer and a notebook, 
and fell to his task. He was in the thirteenth 

book : — (Ls or avrjp ^opiroio XiXaUrai, w t€ -Travrj/xap 
reioj/ av eXKrjTov /36e otVoTre tt^ktov apoTpov." ^ 

It is a fascinating study, this antithesis — on the 
one hand the strenuous new life, on the other the 
dilettante leisure of the old. 

That Mrs. Ward herself was deeply impressed 
by what she saw we are not allowed to 
doubt : — 

" I am suffering from a new kind of folie des 

grandeurs. The world has suddenly grown so 

big ; everything in the human story — all its simple 

fundamental things at least — is writ so large here. 

Hope and ambition — love and courage — the man 

wrestling with the earth — the woman who bears 

and brings up children — it is as though I had 

never felt, never seen them before. They rise out 

of the dust and mist of our modern life — great 

shapes warm from the breast of nature — and I 

hold my breath. Behind them, for landscape, 

all the dumb age-long past of these plains and 

mountains ; and in front, the future on the loom, 

^ Canadian Boy)?, p. 73. 
174 



SOCIAL LIFE 

and the young radiant nation, shuttle in hand, 
moving to and from at her unfolding task ! " ^ 

The voice is Lady Merton's, but the words and 
the spirit that inspires them are our author's. 
Only once does Elizabeth's zeal meet with a rebuff, 
and, characteristically, it is the hardship of woman's 
iot in these new conditions that calls a halt to her 
exuberance : — 

' ' ' There are some ladies in the hotel, from British 
Columbia. They are in easy circumstances — 
and the daughter is dying of overwork ! The 
husband has a large fruit farm, but they can get 
no service ; the fruit rots on the ground ; and 
the two women are worn to death.' 

" ' Aye,' said Anderson gravely. ' This country 
breeds life, but it also devours it.' 

" ' I asked these two women — Englishwomen — 
if they wanted to go home, and give it up. They 
fell upon me with scorn.' 

" ' And you ? ' 

" Elizabeth sighed. 

" ' I admired them. But could I imitate them ? 
I thought of the house at home ; of the old ser- 
vants ; how it runs on wheels ; how pretty and — 
and dignified it all is ; everybody at their post ; 
no drudgery, no disorder.' 

" ' It is a dignity that costs you dear,' said 
Anderson, almost roughly, and with a change of 
countenance. ' You sacrifice to it things a thou- 
sand times more real, more human.' " ^ 

1 Canadian Born, p. 129. - Ibid. p. 203. 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

But Elizabeth herself is the daughter of a man 
who has made railways and history in Canada, 
so that she absorbs by instinct and revels in the 
sensation of immensity and of illimitable possi- 
bilities which this new land gives to all who come 
to it with the true receptive spirit. 

It is fitting that in the end the daughter of the 
old country should give a child to the son of the 
new : — 

" The pledge of a sympathy, a union, begun long 
before her marriage, in the depths of the spirit, 
when her heart first went out to Canada, — to the 
beauty of the Canadian land, and the freedom of 
the Canadian life." ^ 

Summing up Mrs. Ward's picture of Society, 
we see that she believes in democracy, she realises 
that the future of England lies in that democracy, 
but on the other hand she appears to plead for the 
retention of the position of the aristocracy, be- 
cause of its culture and its honourable traditions, 
which must, she thinks, have a refining and re- 
straining influence during the forward march 
which she admits to be inevitable. She is keenly 
alive to the grandeur of that march, the vigour 
of the democratic colonies finds a responsive 
chord in her heart, yet all the while she is sensitive . 
of the charm of antiquity and tradition. Her 
ideals and her hopes for this Society would appear 
to demand an expansive and a progressive mind 
that shall be free from any taint of destructive- 
1 Canadian Born, p. 346. 
176 



WOMAN 

ness ; a mind that shall be prepared to discuss 
religious difficulties and differences only with a 
view to a better understanding of the essentials of 
religion ; that shall be capable of considering love 
as an elevating influence only to be enjoyed if and 
when any debasing element, any conceit of self, 
shall have been eradicated by discipline ; that 
shall give itself to the service of the community 
(whether it be in politics or in the broader field of 
social reform) only with the idea of amelioration 
as a means of consolidation. These, for her, are 
the fundamentals, the essentials, the only bases on 
which an imperial race can build up its destiny. 



WOMAN 

When we think of the number of women of the 
rebellious type whom Mrs. Ward has drawn, and 
drawn too with no small amount of sympathy 
and insight, such as Marcella Boyce, Kitty Ashe, 
Laura Fountain, and Louie Grieve, we should 
almost expect to find her among the Feminists ; 
but she is not to be found in that camp. 

Judging indeed from the first of her great 
heroines, our author would seem rather to favour 
the Ruskin model. Take, for instance, the fol- 
lowing pronouncement on woman by the great 
Pre-Raphaelite, and let us consider how aptly 
it fits Catherine Elsmere : — 

" We cannot determine what the queenly power 
M 177 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

of woman should be, until we are agreed what 
their ordinary power should be. We cannot con- 
sider how education may fit them for any widely 
extending duty, until we are agreed what is their 
true constant duty. And there never was a 
time " — Ruskin is writing in 1865 — " when wilder 
words were spoken, or more vain imagination 
permitted respecting this question — quite vital 
to all social happiness. The relations of the 
womanly to the manly nature, their different 
capacities of intellect or of virtue, seem never to 
have been yet estimated with entire consent. We 
hear of the ' mission ' and of the ' rights ' of 
Women, as if these could ever be separate from 
the mission and rights of Man — as if she and her 
lord were creatures of independent kind, and of 
irreconcilable claim. This, at least, is wrong. 
And not less wrong — perhaps even more foolishly 
wrong (for I will anticipate thus far what I hope 
to prove) — is the idea that woman is only the 
shadow and attendant image of her lord, owing 
him a thoughtless and servile obedience, and sup- 
ported altogether in her weakness by the pre- 
eminence of his fortitude. 

" This, I say, is the most foolish of all errors 
respecting her who was made to be the helpmate 
of man. As if he could be helped effectively by a 
shadow, or worthily by a slave ! " ^ 

In the picture which the author has drawn of 

1 Sesame and Lilies (London : George Allen, 1S65), pp. 
90, 91. 

178 



WOMAN 

her, with iniinite care and a great depth of sym- 
pathy, we see Catherme continually about her 
wifely duties, keeping always the harmonious 
peace and order of his household, and ably supple- 
menting all his work in the parish ; visiting the 
sick, helping the needy, soothing the last days of 
the aged, cheering the overburdened mothers of 
the jDOor in their dreary round of daily toil ; — in 
short, the perfect help-mate. 

Even when Els mere has abandoned all that 
dogma which Catherine holds so dear, and her 
soul is bruised and bitter, she still plays her wifely 
part bravely : 

" She would smile and ask questions, and ad- 
mire, and then when Robert had gone she would 
move slowly to the window and look out at the 
great mass of the British Museum, frowning 
beyond the little dingy strip of garden, with a 
sick longing in her heart for the Murewell corn- 
field, the wood-path, the village, the free air- 
bathed spaces of heath and common. Oh ! this 
huge London, with its unfathomable poverty 
and its heartless wealth — how it oppressed and 
bewildered her ! Its mere grime and squalor, its 
murky poisoned atmosphere, were a perpetual 
trial to the countrywoman brought up amid the 
dash of mountain streams and the scents of 
mountain pastures. She drooped physically for 
a time, as did the child." ^ 

^Robert Elsmere (London: T. Nelson & Sons, 1910), 

179 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

One's mind is driven back irresistibly to that 
great womanly sacrifice which Euripides has 
handed down through the ages for the admiration 
of all time. 

yvvr] T apLarr) twv i(f> rjXtM /xaK/aw says the ChoroS, 
referring, of course, to Alcestis, but her maid, it 
will be remembered, is not satisfied : — 

TTws 8' OVK api<TTq ; Tt's 8' evavriojcrerai ; Tt xpr] yeviaOat 
Tijv vivep(^€.(5Xrjjxiit]v yvvaiKa ; ttws S' av fxaWov eVSet^atTO 
Tts TTOCTLi' TrpoTijUOKr' r\ OeXov vTrepOavexv ; she asks, in 
a burst of enthusiasm for the kind considerate 
mistress she is about to lose. We can imagine 
Catherine producing just such devotion among 
those who were brought into daily contact 
with her. 

How vast the difference between these beautiful 
calm souls and that other type of woman whom 
Mrs. Ward has painted for us in such vivid colours 
in The Marriage of William Ashe ! Although the 
difference is so great, the author's sympathy with 
the " Catherine " t3rpe is so keen, yet she seems 
to have positively gloried in filling in the minutest 
shades of light and dark in that wonderful piece 
of psychology " Lady Kitty " — the wayward, 
frivolous, irresponsible wife of William Ashe. 
What could be more poignant, for instance, than 
this ?— 

" Kitty was to have gone to a ball. She counter- 
manded her maid's preparations, and sent the 

^Alcestis, Scene II., vv. 153-157 (Oxford: Clarendon 
Press). 

180 



WOMAN 

maid to bed. In due time all the servants went to 
bed, the front door being left on the latch, as usual, 
for Ashe's late return. About midnight a little 
figure slipt into the child's nursery. The nurse 
was fast asleep. Kitty sat beside the child, 
emotionless, for an hour, and when Ashe let himself 
into the house about two o'clock he heard a little 
rustle in the hall, and there stood Kitty, waiting 
for him. 

" Kitty, what are you about ? " he said 
in pretended amazement. But in reality 
he was not astonished at all. His life for 
months past had been pitched in a key of 
extravagance and tumult. He had been practi- 
cally certain that he should find Kitty in the 
hah. 

With great tenderness he half led, half carried 
her upstairs. She clung to him passionately as, 
before dinner, she had repulsed him. When they 
reached their room the tired man, dropping with 
sleep after a parliamentary wrestle, in which 
every faculty had been taxed to the uttermost, 
took his wife in his arms, and there Kitty sobbed 
and talked herself into a peace of complete 
exhaustion. In this state she was one of the most 
exquisite of human beings, with words, tone, and 
gestures of a heavenly softness and languor. 
The evil spirit went out of her, and she was all 
ethereal tenderness, sadness and remorse. For 
more than two years scenes like this had, in Ashe's 
case, melted into final delight and intoxication, 

i8i 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

which more than effaced the memory of what had 
gone before." ^ 

A true artistry, surely, is marked by the writer's 
versatihty — she draws with equal facility, with 
equal vigour of outline and depth of conviction, 
the calm and helpful Catherine, the enthusiastic 
and forceful Marcella, the winsome wayward 
Kitty, the headstrong and reckless Hester, the 
rusee superficial Letty, the heroic Miss Bretherton, 
the saintly Dora, and the hysterical Louie. 

But perhaps of all Mrs. Ward's heroines the one 
who most resembles the woman of the moment is 
Laura Fountain. Our author devotes the greater 
part of a whole romance [Helbeck of Bannisdale) 
to the study of this character, but Helbeck himself 
sums it up in a line. " How she loathes all that 
we love," he says, — " humility, patience, obedi- 
ence. She would sooner die than obey." There 
you have the keynote of a most complex and 
fascinating personality. Not humility, but a 
healthy robust pride, pride in her absolute mental 
freedom from all suspicion of bigotry and super- 
stition. Not patience, but impulsiveness — eager 
always to follow immediately the dictates of an 
impulse and a conscience that she knew to be pure 
and single of purpose. Not obedient to anyone 
or anything that she did not love or understand, 
but loyal and true even, as the story shows, unto 
death, to those who have loved and understood 
her. Mrs. Ward says of her : — 

1 The Marriage of William Ashe, pp. 135, 136. 
182 



WOMAN 

" She was a creature of excess ; of poignant and 
indelible impressions. . . . She had been bred 
in that strong sense of personal dignity which in 
all ages has been the alternative to the abasements 
and humiliations of religion. And with that sense 
of dignity went reserve — the intimate conviction 
that no feeling which is talked about and measured 
by other people is worth a rush." ^ 

Nothing is further removed from a selfish and 
rebellious individualism than this sense of personal 
dignity and this respect for one's personality ; 
we find them both at the source of those instincts 
and principles which govern the life of society 
and of the nation. 

It is characteristic of Mrs. Ward that she leaves 
severely alone that unwholesome type of woman 
who not only perverts the affections of her husband 
so as to make him her slave, but who positively 
glories in the humiliating position thus created. 
Sudermann has painted with intense realism the 
type of woman referred to, in the character of 
Felicitas, of whom her husband is made to say : — 

" Ich erkaufe mir gewissermassen das Recht, 
als ihr Mann neben ihr her zu leben, indem ich ihr 
alle nur erdenkliche Freiheit lasse. . . . Sie liebt 
Mannergesellschaft — gut — ich lasse ruhig zu, dass 
unsre jungen Herren aus der ganzen Gegend 
kommen, um ihr den Hof zu machen, und habe 
meine stille Freude daran, wenn sir mir die Thor- 

^ Helheck of Bannisdale (London: Smith, Elder & Co., 
1903). PP- 318, 319. 

183 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

heiten, die die Leute um ihretwillen begehen, 
in ihrer lieblichen, verschamten Art selber einge- 
steht. . . . Ich lasse ihrer Phantasie ruhig die 
Ziigel schiessen, ob sie sich nun im Parke kiinst- 
liche Ruinen aufbaut, — oder nachts zu Pferde 
uber die Wiesen jagt — oder im Mondschein iiber 
den Strom schwimmt — oder bei Lampenlicht in 
Bette liegt — ^meinetwegen. Sie mag treiben, was 
sie will, und der Klatsch wagt sich auch nicht an 
sie heran, denn sie ist meine Frau. . . . Ich 
nehm' sie wie eine schone Tropenblume, die meiner 
Pflege anvertraut ist. Deren fremdartigen Lieb- 
reiz muss man auch bedingungslos anbeten, 
selbst wenn man die Gesetze ihres Seins und 
Wachsens nicht versteht." ^ 

One can well imagine the scorn with which 
Mrs. Ward would handle such a character, if 
indeed she could ever be supposed to so far 
demean her art as to touch this ultramodern, 
hedonist, neurotic type. No, the creator of 
Marcella and Catherine is to be congratulated 
on the fact that there is no suspicion of the 
"Tropenblume" about any of her heroines. 
Even Kitty, who is the nearest approach to this 
type (though far enough removed from it) has 
her whims and fancies easily forgiven, for she 
possesses what no woman of the Felicitas brand 
can ever possess, namely, the fascinating quality 
of winsomeness. 

^ £■,<; War (Stuttgart und Berlin, 1094, Cotta'sche 
Buchhandlung Nachfolo'er), p. 17. 

184 



WOMAN 

Of no Felicitas could be written : — 

" Kitty returned, her breath hurried, her eyes 
wavering. She looked doubtfully at Ashe — 
then her eyes sparkled — as she understood. She 
dropped on her knees beside him, kissing the 
sleeve of his coat, against which her cheek was 
pressed, — in a passion of repentance." ^ 

Kitty is perhaps capable of allowing " jungen 
Herren kommen um ihr den Hof zu machen," 
but she could hardly be guilty of the folly and 
cruelty of " in ihrer lieblichen, verschamten Art 
selber eingestehen." 

Kitty, although she allows herself to be attracted 
by the passion of Cliffe, never really yields to it, 
as did Felicitas to that of Leo Sellenthin, and 
even when she was tempted to submit, it was 
when she was no longer under her husband's 
roof. Such an enormity as that of Felicitas 
is in fact outside the range of her psychological 
capacity. 

In Sir George Tressady Mrs. Ward gives us two 
pictures of poignant antagonism — Letty, the 
typical parasite, getting all she can, and giving 
as little as possible in return, and Marcella, the 
ideal wife and mother, her husband's constant 
helpmate, his strongest political supporter, the 
efficient controller of his household, yet finding 
time withal to minister to the wants of — to gain 
and retain the affection of — her son. The unique 

^ The Marriage of William Ashe (London: Smith, 
Elder & Co., 1905), p. 2^7. 

185 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

position of Marcella does indeed raise for a moment 
the eternal question : — 

" Meanwhile, for the initiated, the situation 
possessed one or two points of special interest. 
Lady Maxwell, indeed, was by this time scarcely 
less of a political force than her husband. Was 
her position an illustration of some new power 
in women's hands, or was it merely an example 
of something as well known to Pharaoh as to the 
nineteenth century — the ability of any woman 
with a certain physique to get her way ? That 
this particular woman's way happened to be 
also her husband's way made the case less in- 
teresting for some observers. On the other 
hand, her obvious wifely devotion attracted 
simple souls to whom the meddling of women in 
politics would have been nothing but repellent 
had it not been recommended to them by the facts 
that Marcella Maxwell was held to be good as 
well as beautiful, that she loved her husband, 
and was the excellent mother of a fine son." ^ 

Marcella, in fact, has some of the spirit of the 
feminist which leaks out now and then under 
provocation. On the occasion, for instance, when 
she had been struck on the temple by a stone 
thrown, after a political meeting, and one of 
her friends is offering condolences, she flashes 
out : — 

" Why should there be any more fuss about a 

1 Siy George Tressady'(London : T. Nelson & Sons, 19 lo), 
p. S7. 

186 



WOMAN 

woman's being struck than a man ? We don't 
want any of this extra pity and talk." ^ 

But the true woman-rebel wouldn't at all 
agree with the following : — 

" The women who matter just now — and you 
women are getting a terrible amount of influence 
— more than you've had any time this half- 
century — are the women who sit at home in 
their drawing-rooms, wear beautiful gowns, and 
attract the men who are governing the country 
to come and see them." ^ 

The fact is that in Great Britain feminist 
aspirations have never found a congenial soil — 
the whole conservative instinct of the country 
is opposed to the movement. From time to 
time, however, this attitude has been shaken 
by the speeches or the writings of some more 
than usually vigorous pioneer, and latterly the 
militant societies have forced themselves into 
notice by means of their daring tactics. 

In practice, however, the wide range of reform 
and rebellion which is implied in the term feminism 
has been narrowed down to certain sectional 
agitations mainly confined to the political 
world. 

Marriage reform, it is true, is vaguely demanded 
by all — but when particular remedies are suggested 
there is immediate discord : one section wants 
the marriage bond to bind more firmly ; another 

' Sty George Tressady, p. 349. 
- Ihid. p. 360 (Lord Naseby loquitur). 
187 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

seeks the loosening of the bond ; a third asks 
for no bond at alL 

By such examples women have made it clear 
that they have not yet made up their minds 
whether they desire equality or privilege ; whether 
they want economic independence, or a strengthen- 
ing of the bonds of dependence ; whether they 
claim liberty as human beings, or protection and 
endowment as mothers ; whether they wish to 
stereotype existing differentiation between men 
and women by making such differentiation 
permanently of greater advantage to women, or to 
establish real sex equality with its burdens as 
well as its advantages. 

A question of supreme interest to students of Mrs. 
Ward's work is, what is her attitude in this matter ? 

It is, we believe, one of the axioms of feminism 
that whether " married or not, a woman is 
bound to maintain, like a sacred fire, her own 
individuality." 

Now this idea is found to dominate our author's 
whole conception of love and marriage. All 
her great heroines — Catherine Elsmere, Marcella, 
Kitty Ashe, Julie le Breton, Laura Fountain — 
love, and (in all cases except the last) marry 
without losing one atom of their individuality — 
not one of them sacrifices an iota of her inde- 
pendence. 

One would suppose, therefore, that the feminist 
could claim Mrs. Ward as one of her champions. 

But the facts liolie the theor}'. On the contrary, 

i88 



WOMAN 

we find her one of the leadmg sph-fts on the 
other side. Speaking on the 21st July igo8 she 
said : — 

" Women are ' not developed men but diverse,' 
and the more complex the development of any 
State the more diverse. Difference, not in- 
feriority — it is on that we take our stand. The 
modern State depends for its very existence — 
and no juggling with facts can get rid of the truth — 
on the physical force of men, combined with the 
trained and specialised knowledge which men 
alone are able to get, because women, on whom the 
child-bearing and the child-rearing of the world 
rests, have no time and no opportunity to get it. 
The difference in these respects between even the 
educated man and the educated woman — ex- 
ceptions apart — is evident to us all. Speaking 
generally, the man's mere daily life as breadwinner, 
as merchant, engineer, official, or manufacturer, 
gives him a practical training that is not open to 
the woman. The pursuit of advanced science, 
the constantly developing applications of science 
to industry and life, the great system of the 
world's commerce and finance, the fundamental 
activities of railways and shipping, the hard 
physical drudgery, in fact, of the world, day by 
day — not to speak of naval and military affairs, 
and of that diplomacy which protects us and 
our children from war — these are male, conceived 
and executed by men. The work of Parliament 
turns upon them, assumes them at every point. 

189 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

. . . There is a greatness in self-restraint as well 
as in self-assertion ; and to embarrass the difhcult 
work of men, in matters where men's experience 
alone provides the materials for judgment, is 
not to help women. On the contrary. We are 
mothers, wives, and sisters of men, and we know 
that our interests are bound up with the best 
interest of men, and that to claim to do their work 
as well as our own is to injure both." ^ 

This is the language of strong conviction, and on 
reflection these are exactly the sentiments that 
might have been expected of Mrs. Ward. The 
Arnold tradition alone — with its love of Culture 
and its instinctive dislike for anything in the least 
degree blatant or clamorous — would account for 
this attitude. And when we add to this her own 
position as a wife and mother, with her high ideals 
of duty and devotion and self-sacrifice, we wonder 
that it was possible for one moment to think 
otherwise. 

Mrs. Ward is in fact a typical representative of 
the upper-middle and professional classes, with all 
the culture and refinement of those classes. And it 
is probably these very instincts which have caused 
her to shrink from the enfranchisement of women. 
The traditional attitude of the women of those 
classes is that it is better for a country as a whole 
that there should be a great body of educated 
opinion not pledged to support one or the other 

1 Speech published as a pamphlet by the Women's 
National Auti-Sulfrage League, pp. 4, 5. 

190 



WOMAN 

part in the State — free, in the non-possession of 
the vote, freely to criticise. 

Sucli is probably Mrs. Ward's attitude, yet we 
find her saying, at a meeting of the Women's 
Local Government Society : — 
-, " One of the most crying needs in England to- 
day is a larger supply of women on local governing 
bodies. We have to deal with all that grows 
most closely and naturally out of household life — 
women as well as men — provision of decent houses, 
and decent sanitation. We must endeavour, 
through health visitors and sanitary inspectors, 
to help people ; to guard against the neglect of 
landlords or the carelessness of tenants." 

Mrs. Ward proceeded to urge that a fixed number 
of places should be reserved on these bodies for 
women, and quoted the remark of Burke : " Good 
government involves social partnership, not only 
between those who are living, but with those who 
are dead and with those who are yet to be born." 

" We only ask," she concluded, " for what is 
our right, and we ask it in no grasping or selfish 
spirit, but in the interest of the Fatherland itself." 

Strong indeed must be the tradition which 
prevents a woman with such aims from taking 
what seems to be the logical step to secure the 
fulfilment of those aims, by means of the franchise. 

That Mrs. Ward, however, is a true friend to her 
sex will not admit of the faintest doubt, as the 
following facts will show. She is strongly in favour 
of the Higher Education of Women. She was the 

191 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

founder of a system of lectures for women — a 
movement which ultimately led to the establish- i 

ment of the Colleges for Women at the University ^ 

of Oxford, and as a member of the first Council of 
Somerville Hall she watched over, and helped 
forward, the growth of that pioneer College. 

To have thus been instrumental in founding 
Colleges for Women at our great Universities is 
surely a thing of which any woman may be proud, 
for it cannot but be regarded as a great progressive 
step in the evolution of woman's destiny. 



192 



CHAPTER V 

CONCLUSIONS 

It only remains for us briefly to sum up the 
evidence in favour of the propositions put forth 
herein, and, in order to do so concisely, let us 
endeavour to answer three questions : — 

(A) Does Mrs, Ward's work give us a true 
picture of English life during the past two decades ? 

(B) Is there a marked quickening of the national 
instinct for social reform ? 

(C) Does the taint of bigotry and superstition 
tend to disappear ? 

(A) In the first place, let us consider some of the 
types of men and women Mrs. Ward has drawn 
for us : — 

Elsmere, the doubting clergyman, was a familiar 
figure during the decade 1890-1900. He exists 
to-day, some think in greater numbers, but the 
bases of his doubts have shifted, as our author 
has shown in Richard Meynell. 

Catherine, the helpful wife, the vicar's right 
hand in parish affairs, can be met in almost every 
town and village throughout the country. 
>^' 193 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

Marcella, the woman with an enthusiasm for 
reform, was not unknown in i8go, whilst in 1910 
she was the cynosure of all our eyes. 

Sir George Tressady, the landloid politician, 
is typical of a large percentage — albeit a dimin- 
ishing percentage — of the Commons of these 
years ; men steeped in a sense of duty both local 
and national. 

David Grieve. Some forty exemplars of this 
type compose the Labour Part}', and form the 
backbone of the trades-union movement. 

Henry Wharton, the insincere politician, the 
place-seeker. He, alas ! is ever with us. 

Kiity Ashe, beautiful, wilful, passionate, disas- 
trous. She indeed belongs to all lands, but 
especially to our own, with its wonderful admixture 
of temperaments, Saxon, Celtic, Gaelic, and 
Norman. 

Julie le Breton, half French, half English, proud, 
haughty, self-conscious, reserved, disdainful, can 
we not meet her at any social gathering or political 
reception ? 

Alan Helbeck still keeps aflame the smouldering 
lamp of Catholicism in our rural districts, and by 
his dogged devotion helps to hold back the ever- 
encroaching wave of indifferentism. 

Laura Fountain, self-reliant, determined, pro- 
gressive, cultured, fills the women's colleges at 
our Universities, and is often to be found in the 
ranks of the Feminists. 

George Anderson, the indomitable colonial, has 

194 



CONCLUSIONS 

made our Colonies the wonder and the envy of 
the world. 

These are portraits for which a thousand originals 

could be found without difficulty, for, combined, 

they make up a large majority of that section of 

^society which Mrs. Ward has made her special 

study. 

(B) When we come to the question of Social 
Reform we realise that it cannot be dealt with 
quite so summarily. 

Picking up the thread of social and political 
history where it was left in the introductory 
chapter, the continued trend of collectivist 
legislation may be marked as follows : — 

(a) Extension of the idea and range of State 
protection of the worker's interests as shown by 
the Workmen's Compensation Acts of 1897 and 
1900, the Agricultural Holdings Act of 1895, the 
Sale of Food and Drugs Act of 1899. 

(b) The preference for collective action, as in 
the various modern Arbitration Acts. 

(c) The equalisation of advantages, as brought 
about by means of compulsory elementary educa- 
tion, employers' liability, municipal trading, the 
Pubic Health Acts, the better housing of the poor, 
the establishing of Garden Cities, the extension 
of free education from the Primary School to the 
University, University Extension Lectures (bring- 
ing the learning of the savants into the heart of 
the cities and towns, available to all) ; University 
Settlements (Toynbee Hall and Cambridge House) 

195 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

planted in the centre of the slum districts, furnishmg 
to the poverty-stricken masses the object-lesson 
of what a home might be made, and so tending 
to create a desire for betterment even among 
the most debased. 

The creator of Robert Elsmere must have 
looked upon these developments with feelings of 
keen pleasure, for it is not given to all reformers 
to be able to see their cherished ideals gradually 
realise themselves, and from year to year develop 
even beyond the dreams of the dreamer. For 
it is probable that Garden Cities and municipal 
trams and washhouses go beyond the original scope 
of Mrs. Ward's ideal. 

What, then, shall be said of the newest move- 
ments ? — the feeding of school children, free 
medical and dental inspection ? These things 
must surely rejoice her heart, for her work at the 
Passmore Edwards Settlement has shown how 
she cherishes the nation's young. And the end is 
not yet, for — 

" The force of collectivism," says Professor 
Dicey, " is not spent ; it is not, to all appearance, 
even on the decline. Public opinion is guided 
far less by the force of argument than by the stress 
of circumstances, and the circumstances which 
have favoured the growth of collectivism still 
continue in existence and exert their power over 
the beliefs and the feelings of the public. Laws, 
again, are among the most potent of the many 
causes which create legislative opinion ; the 

196 



CONCLUSIONS 

legislation of collectivism has continued now 
for some twenty-five or thirty years, and has 
itself contributed to produce the moral and in- 
tellectual atmosphere in which socialistic ideas 
flourish and abound. So true is this that modern 
individualists are themselves on some points 
socialists. The inner logic of events leads, then, 
to the extension and the development of legislation 
which bears the impress of collectivism." ^ 

The Professor's " logic of events " as deduced 
in 1898 is borne out by the enactments of 1910 
and 191 1. The force of collectivism has succeeded 
in passing two Bills (Old- Age Pensions and National 
Insurance) of a distinctive socialist flavour, so 
that the force has proved to be far from spent. 
We may legitimately doubt if it is even yet spent, 
though it may probably with safety be estimated 
to be on the wane, for it is the usual, if not indeed 
the inevitable, concomitant of a socialist policy, 
to so increase the weight of taxation that the 
middle classes throw themselves more and more 
into the balance as against the working classes, 
and so a reaction is produced. 

And to one attempting earnestly to take an 
aloof and philosophic view of these movements, 
it would appear that the key-note of the develop- 
ment is service. In Victorian days the benevolent 
were to a great extent content to dispense charity 
in kind — to salve their consciences with doles, 

^ Law and Opinion (London: ]\Iacmillan & Co., 1905), 
pp. 300,301, 

197 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

that cost no great effort or sacrifice. How different 
to-day ! Behind all creeds and faiths when the 
veil of each particular ritual is removed, we can 
now detect an effort at least, at some sort of 
human service, allied with the worship of the 
Divine. It is now recognised that man needs 
more than the canons of morality for his soul's 
health ; he needs the discipline of personal service, 
of giving, of sacrifice ; he must realise that there 
is plenty of work still to do. 

Witness the steady growth of the work- 
citing at random one case in evidence — of that 
modern Elsmere, the Rev. R. J. Campbell. His 
league, the Liberal League of Christianity (and 
the word " Liberal " here has, of course, no politi- 
cal signification, being used in its pure etymological 
sense of liber alls), has four leading principles, we 
are told, namely : — 

1. The removal of the cause of destitution 
instead of attempting to alleviate its results. 

2. All such help must come from people willing 
to give personal service. 

3. All work to be in co-operation with the State 
officials. 

4. Workers must be willing to train themselves 
for the work. 

The third of these principles is indeed note- 
worthy, for it marks a new era in our national 
life, in that it should be possible for social workers 
to co-operate with the State — not seeking to 
supplant on the one hand, nor to impede on the 

198 



CONCLUSIONS 

other ; but wisely working together for the 
common good. 

This is surely a great step forward, for it will 
hardly be questioned that the State when left 
to itself is apt to be rigid, inflexible, without the 
power of adapting itself to the circumstances of 
the individual. 

Yet a public authority can provide efficient 
appliances and skilled human machinery — it is 
for the people themselves to supply the motive 
force and the humanising agency. Voluntary 
work in the field of social service, done from the 
highest motives, with sympathy and self-denial, 
and brought to bear in the public interest, must 
secure results that could never be obtained by any 
purely commercial, local or national authority. 

The task of the twentieth century, as Frederic 
Harrison read it, and as we believe Mrs. Humphry 
Ward to have read it, is to " discipline the chaotic 
activity of the nineteenth." And it can only do 
this by becoming aware of the death-sentence to 
be passed on Western civilisation, if it neglects to 
organise a new social discipline, from which the 
taint of self-seeking, both national and individual, 
shall have been eliminated. 

(C) The spirit of our times, unless we have 
grievously misunderstood its voice, calls aloud for 
the better establishment of idealised common- 
sense, for freedom of outlook in all the ways of 
thought, for the spread and growth of all that is 
antithetic to bigotry and superstition. 

199 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

One thing that ]\lrs. Ward has consistently 
pleaded for, namely, greater freedom for the 
expression of religious and ethical ideas, has been 
achieved to the fullest degree. Prosecutions of 
clergymen for the preaching of heterodox beliefs 
are now unknown — every occupant of a pulpit 
puts his own construction on Biblical narrative 
without let or hindrance. The bigot has almost 
disappeared from among us. 

We believe that an " Elsmere " or a " Meynell " 
incident would, in the super-free atmosphere of 
to-day, be a moral impossibility. 

How the fetish of Sabbath observance has been 
slain is shown in Chapter IV., and it may be safely 
stated that the modern Sunday is practically 
free from superstition. 

Farrar's Eternal Hope and Cox's Salvator Mundi 
have for ever laid the bogey of the Victorian 
" Hell," with its terrors of eternal burning and its 
utter elimination of Hope. Here Mrs. Ward's 
work has been only indirect, but Farrar and Cox 
might have sown in vain if the soil had not been 
prepared for the reception of their ideas by Matthew 
Arnold's destruction of the superstitious belief 
in the verbal inspiration and accuracy of the 
Scriptures, and ]\Irs. Ward's popularising of the 
same. It is, in fact, almost impossible to over- 
estimate the influence of this joint-work of 
uncle and niece ; and it is hardly too much 
to say that it has completely changed our 
national psychosis. Witness, for instance, the 

200 



CONCLUSIONS 

modern ethical attitude towards Contentment and 
Forgiveness. 

In the golden days of Victoria, contentment 
with one's lot and forgiveness of our enemies were 
twin-virtues preached from the pulpits of all the 
Churches, and belauded from the editorial chairs 
of the great journals of the day ; now, we hear 
of the " gospel of Discontent " as a sign of national 
vitality, and in the place of forgiveness an elaborate 
system of compensation for all kinds of wrongs 
has been instituted ; such phrases as "he must 
bear the brunt " and " they must take the conse- 
quences " are found constantly in the mouths of 
the people. The offender of to-day must not 
look for forgiveness, he must " face the music " — 
to use a neologism coined to meet the mood of the 
moment. 

Probably few would be surprised if a daring 
and original thinker like Bernard Shaw or G. K. 
Chesterton were to propound the theory that 
" Contentment and Forgiveness are the two 
greatest enemies of Humanity " ; and either of 
them would doubtless be able to reinforce his 
proposition by means of many plausible arguments 
and some truth. 

A little healthy discontent, it might be argued, 

. would have prevented the mass of the poor 

from being so long content to live in insanitary 

hovels, and would thus have helped to stop 

• physical deterioration ; similarly, it might be 

argued that a too ready forgiveness of those who 

201 



MRS. HUMPHRY WARD 

injure us in word or deed, acts as a stimulant 
to further wrong-doing rather than as a deterrent, 
and is therefore anti-humanitarian. These ideas 
may or may not be new and they may or may not 
be true, the point is that their dissemination 
to-day would hardly call for remark, whereas 
twenty years ago they could only have caused 
consternation. 

These, of course, are merely side issues, straws 
thrown into the stream to mark the drift of the 
waters, and if we have not entirely mistaken Mrs. 
Ward's tone of mind, it would seem certain that 
these changes are welcomed by her, for whatever 
she may be or may not be, there is no gainsaying 
one fact : she is a genuine whole-hearted lover of 
her kind. 

Finally, let it be emphasised that our contention 
is not that Mrs. Ward's work is wholly and solely 
responsible for any improvement that may have 
been noted, in the national well-being, but that 
it has been throughout a potent factor in inciting 
the nation to insist on these improvements.^ 

It has not been possible to obtain publishers' 

' It may not be amiss to state, however briefly, some of 
the chief influences which have tended in the same direc- 
tion as, or in a similar direction to, that of Mrs. Humphry 
Ward. 

Among these are : — 

The writings of Bernard Shaw, which have given the 
death-blow to Victorian puritanism, and have done so 
much to open the eyes and broaden the view of the reading 
and thinking public. 

202 



CONCLUSIONS 

figures in proof of the enormous extent to which 
the three chief works quoted herein have been 
read, but some indication of that extent can be 
found in the facts that (i) all three books passed 
through several editions at 6s. ; (2) they were then 
issued at 2s. 6d., and in this " Cheap Popular " 
edition, one at any rate (Marcella) reached its 
eighteenth edition ; (3) they have all three recently 
been again issued in a still cheaper edition at the 
trivial sum of yd. per copy, so that these novels 
are now brought within the purview of even the 
poorest. The demand must be sustained, or 
there would have been no re-issues. It is im- 
possible to estimate the number of people who 
have read Mrs. Ward's books, and it is equally 
impossible to find an English man or woman, of 
fair education, who has never read any of them. 
There is therefore no need for wonderment at 
the enormous influence they have exerted, it is 
the natural outcome of an immense success. 

The Swing of the Political Pendtdum, producing a strong 
progressive reaction after twenty years of undiluted 
Toryism. 

The Spread of Education, creating a larger demand for 
the works of such thinkers and reformers as Mill, Ruskin, 
and Spencer. 

The Reduction in the Hours of Labour, giving people 
leisure for the study of political and social problems. 

The Advance of Socialistic Ideas, causing a vague fear 
in the minds of many, and so forcing them to consider, 
and attempt, means of allaying agitation among the 
working classes. 

203 



LITERARY INDEX 



Amiel, 40, 41, 42, 61, 74. 
Arnold, Matthew, 13, 25, 

29, 34. 36, 37> 47, 4S. 

52, 61, 63, 65, 104. 
Arnold, Thomas, 26, 27. 
Arnold, Dr. T.. of Rugby, 

125. 

Balzac, 65. 
Bentham, 17, 57. 
Bergson, 134. 
Blackmore, 88. 
Browning, 24. 
Bunyan, 33. 
Byron, 70. 

Carlyle, 28, 45. 
Carpenter, Edward, 153. 
Cervantes, 54. 
Chaucer, 65. 
Chesterton, G. K., 201. 
Chevrillon, 34, 170. 
Cox, Dr. Samuel, 200. 
Creighton, Bishop, 118. 

Darwin, 12, 13, 28. 
Daudet, Alphonse, 63. 
Dicey, Prof. A. V., 32, 

196. 
Dickens, 27, 57, 58, 65. 
Diderot, 35, 36. 
Dollinger, 27. 

Edwards, Passmore, 106. 
Eliot, George, 24. 
Emerson, no. 



28, 
51. 

26, 



1^5. 



Epictetus, 33. 
Euripides, 180. 

Farrar, Dean, 200. 
Froude, 24. 

Gladstone, 13, 46, 127, 157. 

Goethe, 37, 55. 

Green, T. H., 43, 44, 45,^46, 

128. 
Grimm, 65. 
Grote, 17. 

Harnac, 134. 

Harrison, Frederic, no, 199. 

Hauff, 65. 

Hegel, 44, 45. 

Heine, 67. 

Helvetius, 35. 

Holbach, 35. 

Homer, 174. 

Hugo, Victor, 55, 65. 

Humboldt, no. 

Hume, 33, 34. 

Huxley, 12, 13, 28, 53. 

James, Prof. W., 134. 
Jowett, 43, 128. 
JuHan, 15. 

Kant, 44, 45. 

Keble, 11, 28. 

Kingsley, Chas., 13, 28, 119. 



Livy, 157. 

Lodge, Sir O., 134, 153. 



205 



LITERARY INDEX 



Loisy, 134- 
Longfellow, loo. 

Maine, H., 57. 

Manning, 11, 28. 

Marshall, Prof., 56. 

Marx, Karl, 84. 

Maurice, F. D., 13, 28, 45, 

119. 
Mill, J. S., 17, 18, 24, 33, 43, 

46, no, 203. 
Milton, 33. 

Morley, Lord, 113, 114. 
Morris, William, 22, 24. 
Morrison, Cotter, 14, 49, 50, 

Nettleship, 45, 46. 
Newman, 11, 24, 27, 28. 

Oastler, 20. 

Pearson, Hugh, 128. 
Perrault, 65. 
Pusey, II, 28. 



Renan, 105. 
Rossetti, 22. 
Rousseau, 35, 36, 55, 

114. 
Roz, Firmin, 68, 70. 



105, 



Ruskin, 22, 28, 34, 35, 57, 
no, 177, 203. 

Sadi, S7. 

Sand, George, 40, 55. 

Shakespeare, 113. 

Shaw, G. B., 152, 156, 201, 

202. 
Shorthouse. 88. 
Spencer, Edmund, 65. 

,, Herbert, 12, 28, 44, 

84, 104, 159, 203. 
Spinoza, no. 
Stanley, Dean, 128. 
Sudermann, 183. 
Swinburne, 24. 

Tennyson, 24, 67, no. 
Thackeray, 24. 
T^-rrell, 134. 

Vinet, 67. 
Virgil, 67. 
Voltaire, 35, 36, 55, 114. 

Warren, 32. 

Webb, Sidney, 152, 153, 157, 

158. 
Wells, H. G., 153. 
Wesley, 33, 134. 
Wordsworth, 22, 45, 67. 



206 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Amiel, Joitn'.al (London : Macmillan & Co., i9o5), p. 41. 

" Appendix to Report from the Joint S-ilcct Committee 
on Housing of the Working Classes," Pavliamentary 
Papers (1902), vol. v. p. 99. 

Arnold, Matthew, Culture and Anarchy (London: T. 
Nelson & Sons, 1908 ed. — first published in 1869), 
pp. 31, 34, 63, 102, 104; Literature and Dogma 
(ibid.), pp. 33, 47, 48. 

Burdett's Hospitals and Charities (1910), p. 90. 

Chevrillon, Andr;^, La Pensee de Ruskin (Paris : Hachet te 
et Cie., 1909), pp. 35, 171. 

Dicey, Professor A. V ., Laiu and Opinion in England 
(London: Macmillan & Co., 1905), pp. 19,33, 125,197. 

Dictionary of National Biography (Supplement, vol. i.), 
P-45- 

Edwards, James Passmore, A Few Footprints (London: 
Watts & Co., 1906), pp. 107, 108, III, 112. 

Euripides, Alcestis (Oxford : Clarendon Press), p. x8o. 

Livius, Titus, De Bello Punico, ii. p. 157. 

M.\iNE, Sir H., Popular Govetnment (London: John 
Murray), p. 57. 

Mill, John Stuart, On Liberty (London : Longmans). 

207 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

MoRRisox, James Cotter, The Service of Man (London : 
Kegan Paul, Trench, Triilmer & Co., 1888), pp. 15, 

SI- 

Nettleship, R. L., The Works of Thomas Hill Green 
(Oxford: Clarendon Press, i885), p. 45. 

" Report of Royal Commission on the Housing of the 
Working Classes," Parliamentary Papers, 1884-85, 
vol. XXX. pp. 97, 98. 

Revue des Deux Mondes (Paris), pp. 68, 70. 

RusKix, John, Unto this Last (London : James Allen, 
1877), p. 58; Sesame and Lilies {ibid. 1865), p. 178. 

Sadi, The Bitstan of (London : John Murray, " Wisdom 
of the East Series," 191 1), p. 87. 

Sh.\w, George Bernard, The Fabian Society: its Early 
History (published by the Society: London, 1901), 
p. 156. 

SuDERMANN, Es War (Stuttgart und Berlin : Cotta'sche 
Buchhandlung Nachfolger, 1904), p. 184. 



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